After that, cubs are very quickly "subjected to excessive handling," she notes, which in turn means their feeding and sleep cycles are disrupted.
At Tiger Safari, for example, a 3-week-old cub named Sarabi - after being driven by car 19 hours from a breeding facility in South Carolina - was handled by 27 individuals during the course of one day, claims HSUS investigators.
Cubs are often diseased, live in inappropriate housing and are fed inadequate diets. And unsurprisingly, HSUS found, they are physically disciplined in order to get them to "cooperate" for photo shoots.
In fact, Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida - the largest accredited sanctuary in the country dedicated to rescuing abused or abandoned big cats - maintains that the abuse cats endure in PTP cannot be overestimated: "Pay-to-play is the driver of 99 percent of the big cat abuse in this country," she says.
Since its inception, Big Cat Rescue has been monitoring the PTP industry as best it can. The organization provided The Dodo with some of its research. In one case, a tiger cub at a PTP facility was electrically shocked during training when she wasn't complying with the owner's instructions. According to the notes, when she still failed to heed demands, the shocking device was rammed down the cub's throat.