Porsche Cars North America is asking its dealers not to use live tigers in promotions of the new Macan mid-sized crossover after animal rights activists objected to the plans.
Nick Twork, Porsche’s manager of product communications, said Porsche reached out to its dealers after Big Cat Rescue told the company about Reeves Import Motorcars’ use of live tiger cubs during a May 2 promotion of the Macan.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals also reached out to Porsche on May 5 regarding the Tampa, Fla., dealer’s promotion. The next day, Twork said, Porsche “strongly encouraged” its North American dealers to drop all plans to use live tigers to promote the Macan, which is an Indonesian word for tiger.
“Porsche does not condone in any way the use of live animals for advertising,” Twork said.
Susan Bass, Big Cat Rescue’s director of public relations, said Reeves Import Motorcars rented tigers from Dade City’s Wild Things for the May 2 promotion. Dade City’s Wild Things is not involved in tiger rescue nor is it a sanctuary. It primarily deals in animal-based entertainment, Bass said. The Wild Things Web site describes it as an “ecotourism zoo.”
Danielle Katz, campaign manager at PETA, said her organization never received a response from Reeves Import Motorcars after it requested the dealer stop using tigers.
Reeves Import Motorcars could not be reached for comment today.
Bass said several other North American Porsche dealers planned to rent live tigers. She mentioned Leith Porsche of North Carolina’s plan to rent tigers for its unveiling of the Macan on Thursday.
“We first wanted to give notoriety to the animal and what it stands for,” said Jason Jones, general manager of Leith Porsche. “But when we spoke to PETA and found out about the transportation and poor treatment … it was not something we wanted to be a part of.”
Bass said Big Cat Rescue was happy with Porsche’s response to its concerns.
“We praised them and even encouraged [our supporters] to go buy a Porsche,” she said.