Eatery Wants to Use Tigers As Attraction
HOUSTON - A downtown restaurant that already features sharks and other exotic aquatic life wants to add another attraction from the animal kingdom: white tigers.
Houston businessman Tilman Fertitta is working to display three tigers at his Downtown Aquarium restaurant.
But animal rights activists are condemning the proposal, and some council members say it would violate a city ordinance barring people from having a wild animal in the city.
Restaurant officials say their establishment and downtown Houston would be a more attractive destination for residents, tourists and conventions if the animals were there. They also promise to treat the tigers humanely.
Fertitta, president and chief executive of Landry's Restaurants Inc., which operates the Downtown Aquarium, hopes to get around the city's exotic animal ordinance by seeking accreditation from the American Zoological Association.
"We feel like this is a zoo facility," said Jeff Cantwell senior vice president of development for Landry's. "This is about entertainment and education. It's no different from the Houston Zoo in that respect."
Landry's has received that accreditation for a similar exhibit at a Denver restaurant.
But animal rights activist Anthony Marr said Fertitta's plan is a commercial enterprise and that "there does not seem to be a single thought for the well-being of these animals or the future of the species."