A lion tamer associated with the New Orleans Grand Circus was arrested this morning on charges of animal cruelty for feeding the animal under his care exclusively a vegan carrot-based mixture.
An investigation was opened by the FBI last month after 42-year old Darrell Johnson posted videos online where he presented his unique “vegan lion feed recipe”.
In one of the videos, he bragged that he had been feeding the circus’ lions with his mixture for more than six months and that they were now “leaner and healthier than ever”.
Investigators were finally able to identify and locate Mr. Johnson who is actually touring in Ohio with the circus, and veterinarians were dispatched to examine the animals under his care.
Dr. Frederick Munster, who examined the five lions, says the animals suffer from “extremely severe malnutrition” and are badly underweight.
“The animals all weight between 100 and 150 lbs less than they should and are totally lethargic. It’s a miracle that all five of them are still alive.”
The felines were transported to the Cincinnati Zoo where they will be taken care of until their condition improves.
Mr. Johnson faces a total of 43 criminal charges, including fives charges of animal cruelty and 17 charges of criminal neglect.
He was released on bail only hours after his arrest, and immediately met reporters to denounce his arrest.
He claims he’s the victim of a political conspiracy orchestrated by the meat lobby and that his lions are “perfectly healthy”.
He intends to demonstrate during his trial that a vegan diet is perfectly healthy, even for carnivores.
The first hearing for this case is scheduled for September 6 and is expected to draw a lot of attention.