Written by Jeff Mackey
If anyone needed a reminder about how horribly the notorious Jambbas Ranch treats animals, a newly released report from a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection
of the Fayetteville, North Carolina–based roadside zoo reveals that the agency
has cited the facility yet again for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
According to the report, the USDA inspector observed a "very
thin" rabbit who was "dehydrated," "reluctant to move,"
and "too weak to reach [the] tall water can" in the cage. The rabbit also suffered from overgrown nails, ear mites, and
inflamed ears, which Jambbas had only "treated" with Vaseline. The
inspector also observed an abrasion on one of the rabbit's footpads, which Jambbas
had not even noticed, let alone treated—nor had the facility noticed that the
animal was dehydrated, even though his or her skin was "tenting" (a loss of
elasticity seen in cases of fluid loss).
In 2012, PETA and the Animal Legal Defense Fund joined
concerned Fayetteville-area residents in filing a lawsuit challenging the USDA's renewal of
Jambbas' license to exhibit animals since applicants must demonstrate AWA compliance. Yet
despite this latest violation—and despite additional evidence of AWA noncompliance
given to the agency by PETA—the USDA once again renewed Jambbas' license on May
To challenge this latest rubber-stamping of Jambbas' license
in the face of a violation found by its own inspector, PETA and the other
plaintiffs will be seeking to amend their complaint in the lawsuit against the USDA.
In January, a court denied
a motion filed by the USDA seeking to dismiss the suit so that the agency could continue with "business as usual"—a business
based on animals' abject misery.
PETA won't rest until all the animals at Jambbas Ranch have
bright futures, just as Ben
the bear now does. Please urge USDA officials
to revoke Jambbas' license immediately and offer them the chance to live out their lives with pride and contentment.
Written by Michelle Kretzer
A source close to John Cuneo, the owner of infamous circus supplier Hawthorn Corporation, has leaked information to PETA that we hope will convince the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to revoke Hawthorn's exhibitor license permanently and to seek criminal charges against Cuneo as well as Lance Ramos, an unlicensed exhibitor who has repeatedly abused and neglected exotic animals and who, according to the whistleblower's testimony, was unlawfully hired by Hawthorn.
Hawthorn breeds tigers and leases them to circuses around the world. It has provided Shrine circuses, Cole Bros. Circus, Jordan World Circus, George Carden Circus, Hanneford Circus, and Tarzan Zerbini Circus with tigers. The whistleblower gave PETA firsthand information about pervasive abuse and neglect of animals and apparent violations of federal law, including the following:
These allegations are just the latest in Hawthorn's long, sordid history of cruelty to animals. Please join PETA in asking the USDA to take the appropriate disciplinary action, including revoking Hawthorn's license to exhibit animals.
Update: PETA has now
confirmed that the USDA has not one but two
open investigations into AWA violations by the Hawthorn Corporation: one prompted by PETA's complaint regarding Hawthorn's use of Lance Ramos (see
below) to unlawfully exhibit tigers in violation of the USDA's revocation of Ramos' license and the other arising from a separate
case in Florida. Please urge the agency to follow the lead of governments
around the world in defending animals against abuse by circuses and exhibitors by permanently revoking
Originally posted on February 8th, 2013:
As PETA has learned from years of working to free animals
from Hawthorn's cruel clutches, calling Hawthorn "notorious" is actually
putting it rather mildly. The exotic-animal exhibitor's reprehensible history
of AWA violations include USDA citations issued on more than 60 occasions for Hawthorn's
many failures to provide animals with proper veterinary care, nutrition, safe
or sanitary enclosures, safe or humane handling practices, exercise, and adequate
The USDA's previous enforcement actions against Hawthorn
have entailed multiple license suspensions, more than a quarter of a million
dollars in penalties, and confiscation or ordered surrender of at least 17
exotic animals. None of these actions have done anything to ensure even adequate treatment of the animals
Hawthorn forces to perform.
The USDA has recognized that continuing to fail to adhere to
minimum standards of sanitation and feeding—both of which are chronic problems
for Hawthorn—are violations for which an AWA license should be revoked. Yet the
USDA appears to be granting Hawthorn preferential treatment by repeatedly renewing
Someone whose license was
permanently revoked is animal trainer Lance Ramos (aka "Lancelot
Kollman") after AWA citations for, among other cruelty, using physical
abuse as a "training tool" on exotic cats to the point that at least one
of them died and denying adequate veterinary care to an elephant so severely
emaciated that he was a full ton underweight when the USDA confiscated him. Despite this, Hawthorn brought Ramos on board to train and exhibit tigers, and
PETA has provided evidence to the USDA that he recently illegally exhibited the big cats with a Shrine circus and Showfolks
Every day that Hawthorn remains licensed is a day that
animals are suffering. Please send a polite e-mail to USDA General
Counsel Ramona Romero urging the agency to revoke Hawthorn's license immediately
and permanently disqualify its employees and agents from obtaining a USDA
Records just released to PETA by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) show that notorious elephant exhibitor Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT) was cited by the agency in late August 2012 for violating the Animal
Welfare Act (AWA), following a complaint submitted by PETA.
Pachyderms—and the Public
According to its newly released inspection report, the USDA cited HTWT for failing to comply
with the AWA requirement that a knowledgeable and experienced handler have
direct control and supervision of elephants during public exhibition.
Not only do elephant rides endanger humans and elephants,
they're also cruel. After Animal Defenders International released video footage showing that adult and baby elephants cried out in pain as HTWT trainers
repeatedly struck them with sharp metal-tipped bullhooks and shocked them with electric prods in 2011, numerous venues severed all ties
with the company. It's simply unconscionable for fairs and other attractions to
keep hosting HTWT given its history of abuse and endangerment.
What You Can Do
Please join PETA in urging the San Diego County Fair to
join the ranks of the Orange
County Fair, the Santa
Ana Zoo, and the L.A. County Fair and stop hosting HTWT or any other providers of elephant rides.
Animal advocates have long known the name Jambbas Ranch Tours. The notorious roadside zoo in Fayetteville, North Carolina, has racked up a mountain of citations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its pervasive neglect and abuse of animals. In fact, nearly every single USDA inspection of Jambbas since October 2006 has resulted in citations for the zoo for failing to provide animals with even the minimum care required by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). And the latest inspection is no exception. Following a PETA complaint, the USDA again performed an unannounced inspection of Jambbas and found the following violations, among others:
The USDA has been formally investigating Jambbas for at least 18 months for the abuse and neglect of animals. The zoo's chronic violations of the AWA disqualify it from having its license to keep and exhibit animals renewed, yet inexplicably, the USDA continues to renew Jambbas' license year after year, which prompted PETA and others to file a lawsuit.
It's time for every one of the hundreds of animals at Jambbas to be retired to sanctuaries, just like Ben, the long-suffering bear who is now relishing his new life at the PAWS Sanctuary. Please urge the USDA to revoke Jambbas' license and let its captive animals finally retire to sanctuaries, where they will be loved and cared for, instead of caged and used for profit.
When the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) permanently revokes an animal exhibitor's license, it means game over—that person or company can never again exhibit animals. But Lancelot Kollman, aka Lance Ramos, a notorious animal abuser who flagrantly disregards the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), must think that he is above the law. PETA caught Kollman in the act, exhibiting tigers with the notorious Hawthorn Corporation at a Shrine circus in Fort Worth, Texas.
For animals in circuses, there is no such thing as "positive reinforcement"—only varying degrees of punishment and deprivation.
PETA has passed this evidence on to the USDA, prompting a formal investigation into both Kollman and Hawthorn. PETA is demanding that the agency pursue criminal charges against Kollman and permanently revoke Hawthorn's exhibitor license. This is far from the first run-in either one has had with the law.
When the USDA yanked Kollman's license in 2009, he had racked up quite a rap sheet for cruelty to animals by denying animals veterinary care, clean water, and adequate shelter; forcing them to live in unsanitary conditions; using physical abuse as a "training tool"; abusing two young lions to the point that one of them died; and starving an elephant so much that he was a full ton underweight when the USDA took the extraordinary enforcement action of confiscating him.
The Hawthorn Corporation brought Kollman onboard despite his well-documented history of animal abuse and neglect. That's no surprise since Hawthorn doesn't exactly play by the rules. The USDA knows Hawthorn well: The first time it ever exercised its authority to seize an elephant was from the Hawthorn Corporation, after an extensive campaign by PETA. Hawthorn had allowed an elephant named Delhi to stand in undiluted formaldehyde, which resulted in severe chemical burns, and then denied her proper veterinary care for her wounds. Hawthorn was subsequently ordered to relinquish custody of 16 additional elephants. The USDA has also suspended Hawthorn's exhibitor license twice, fined it a total of more than a quarter of a million dollars, and issued numerous cease-and-desist orders.
Hawthorn's litany of more than 60 violations of the AWA includes feeding animals moldy and fly-infested food, denying sick animals veterinary care, forcing tigers to live in tiny transport crates for months at a time, using unsafe handling practices, and keeping tigers who were not compatible in small cages together, which resulted in several tigers' deaths. In a span of just nine years, at least 32 tigers owned by Hawthorn died. Many of them were young, and many of them died under circumstances that were entirely preventable, such as from unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
Urge the USDA to show Kollman and Hawthorn that they are not above the law. Ask the agency to pursue criminal charges against Kollman and permanently revoke Hawthorn's license. Enough is enough.
Written by PETA
Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, must now pay the largest settlement of its kind in U.S. history―$270,000―for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) dating back to 2007.
PETA has been after the USDA all this time to take action against Ringling for abusing the animals in its care. In recent meetings, we presented unequivocal evidence of animal abuse, including beatings, the death of a lion, lame elephants forced to perform despite chronic pain, and a baby elephant who died during a training routine. We had recently filed a new formal request for action against Ringling, and our attorneys had met with the USDA's general counsel and urged her to begin enforcement proceedings.
PETA presented testimonial and photographic evidence that baby elephants at Ringling's training compound are torn away from their mothers and subjected to violent training sessions so that they will learn how to perform tricks, as well as video footage from a PETA investigation showing how elephants used by Ringling are whipped, beaten, and yanked by heavy, sharp steel-tipped bullhooks behind the scenes, prior to performing.
In addition to receiving the largest civil penalty ever assessed against an exhibitor under the AWA, Ringling must now provide all employees who handle animals with training and hire a staff member dedicated to AWA compliance. We will see how that goes.
This is a great start, but no one should forget that elephants and other animals pay the price every time anyone buys a ticket to the circus. Ask all the parents you know not to take their children to this cruel show, and explain why or show them this blog.
Please click here to thank the USDA for taking action against Ringling for its abuse of animals, and urge officials to go a step further and confiscate the circus' sick and ailing elephants.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
Problem: You're head of an engineering firm hired to simulate and analyze a customer's fall in a Dollar General store in order to provide testimony in a lawsuit.
Solution(?): Get some goon to shoot a sensitive, intelligent pig in the head and then drop the pig's body repeatedly onto a concrete floor.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that killing a pig to mimic a human fall is inhumane and unnecessary, but that's exactly what Linda Weseman of Gainesville-based Weseman Engineering Inc. did.
Since shooting a pig execution-style violates USDA regulations, we filed a complaint with that agency in September 2008 after a whistleblower alerted us to the incident.
Exactly a year later, we learned that the USDA has issued Weseman three citations and a "serious warning" for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
The following are the violations Ms. Weseman was cited for:
Weseman also agreed never to do another experiment on a USDA-regulated animal again (so pigs are safe, but rats and mice beware).
In case those citations and a warning aren't enough to drive home the point for Ms. Weseman that sentient beings shouldn't be killed for pointless experiments, I suggest some compassion training with rescued piglets at her nearest animal sanctuary.
Written by Heather Drennan
Yep, rats and mice are finally having their day. Saturday's Wall Street Journal (the second-largest paper in the country and the most respected) features a front-page article about the work of PETA and others to gain protection for rats and mice in laboratories.
Shockingly, even though rats and mice comprise more than 95 percent of the animals used in experiments, they are specifically excluded from the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the only federal law that protects animals in laboratories. According to the U.S. government, in its infinite wisdom, rats and mice (as well as birds and "cold-blooded" animals) are not "animals." (It's nonsensical, we know.)
That's why PETA has been doing end-runs around the worthless AWA by going straight to the companies that are required to test their products and pointing out the benefits of using effective and humane alternatives. We also monitor the various government agencies' testing programs and object every time we learn about a proposed test on animals that is redundant or for which non-animal alternatives are available. By doing this, we have been able to get dozens of tests on animals stopped (or the number of animals used greatly reduced), which has saved tens of thousands of animals' lives.
We think it's about time that our elected officials thought about rats and mice, don't you? Send a message to your members of Congress demanding that rats and mice be treated like the sensitive animals (not vegetables or minerals) they are.
Written by Alisa Mullins
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.