Written by Jeff Mackey
After a whistleblower came forward with a report of pervasive animal abuse and
neglect at Piccadilly Circus, PETA filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
requesting an investigation. According to its recently released inspection report, the USDA cited Piccadilly's general manager for several of the violations that
were flagged in PETA's complaint and the whistleblower's sworn affidavit.
The substantiated violations include failing to provide a
sheep suffering from a painfully broken leg with veterinary care, transporting
animals in crowded and unsafe enclosures, keeping foul-smelling meat (to be fed
to a tiger) in a dirty cooler without any ice or freezer packs, and having
inadequate enclosures in the petting zoo that allowed a vulnerable young animal
How You Can Help
Wherever circuses use animals, abuse, neglect, and misery
are inevitably found as well. Please never buy a ticket for Piccadilly or any
other circus that exploits
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.
cruelty as blatant as that displayed at Piccadilly Circus, it is no surprise that the circus is the subject of a whistleblower's report that
provides the basis for a PETA complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA). The complaint details allegation of the circus's habitual physical abuse of animals
and systematic failure to provide veterinary care, among other apparent
violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
blieusong | cc by 2.0
In the affidavit, the whistleblower asserts that while
working during the circus's Waterbury, Connecticut, performances, Piccadilly's
general manager, Zachary Garden, beat a zebra named Ziggy after the animal
jumped out of the performance ring during an evening performance.
During the beating, Ziggy was reportedly held in place by
the general supervisor, known as Bucket, while Garden "forcefully [struck]
Ziggy with a tiger stick—an approximately 3' long plastic or fiberglass stick
with a blunt metal end—with such force that the zebra fell to his front knees
and then fell over sideways." Once Ziggy got up, according to the whistleblower,
Garden struck him "with great force at least two more times," and the
zebra "vocalized loudly and in a strained manner" at the start of the
beating and then turned silent. After this beating, Ziggy returned to his cage.
Animals would be physically punished whenever their
performances were "slightly off," and Garden would "strike
animals using the handle of a 10'-12' lunge whip when they did not perform
their act perfectly," according to the whistleblower. The whistleblower
further alleges that Garden struck a camel named Thor—who is approximately 1 or
2 years old—in the right eye with the whip handle because the camel was
standing a short distance away from where he was expected to stand, causing the
eye to bleed. Furthermore, according to the statement, when a camel named Reece
fails to sit in training sessions for the end of performances, Garden uses the
whip handle "to beat him on the legs until he oblige[s] or force[s] him
down so hard that he … get[s] cuts on his knees."
The whistleblower also alleged that:
Please never attend a performance by Piccadilly or any other
circus that uses animals.
Written by Michelle Kretzer
Update: Today, The Washington Post ran a cover story highlighting PETA's efforts to stop the U.S. military from
killing thousands of goats and pigs each year in crude medical training
drills. As the newspaper points out, a bill that was signed into law last
month requires the Department of Defense to submit to Congress by the end of
this week a detailed strategy and timeline for the phase-out of these deadly
exercises. This is the first time in history that Congress has passed
a bill that protects animals from abuse in military training exercises. Please
take a moment to write to the Department of Defense and urge it to act quickly to phase out these barbaric exercises.
Originally posted on January 4th:
The year has just begun, but already 2013 has seen an exciting first for animals! President Barack Obama has just signed into law a bill that requires the Department of Defense (DOD) to create a strategy for replacing the shooting, stabbing, and dismembering of animals in military training drills with non-animal methods. This is the first time in history that Congress has passed a bill that seeks to protect animals from being abused in military training exercises.
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Last year, people were outraged when PETA released disturbing, never-before-seen undercover footage showing live goats as they were stabbed, had their organs yanked out, and had their limbs broken and cut off with tree trimmers during a military training drill, all while the animals moaned and kicked.
Multitudes of you contacted your representatives demanding that these archaic forms of "training" end and that the abusers who were caught on video be held accountable. You won. Under a provision in the newly signed National Defense Authorization Act, the secretary of defense has less than two months to present Congress with a strategy for phasing out the use of animals in trauma training. And the people who were caught on camera abusing goats were cited for violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
High-profile military veterans Oliver Stone, Bob Barker, and Gideon Raff have all joined you in asking the DOD to modernize its training program by replacing its deadly animal laboratories with more reliable methods such as human-patient simulators. These realistic models can breathe, bleed, talk, and even "die," and trainees can perform procedures on them over and over again until they master lifesaving skills.
While this monumental law requires the secretary of defense to create a plan to phase out the use of animals, it does not mandate a specific date by which animal training methods must end. Help us keep the pressure on by e-mailing the secretary of defense and other DOD and Department of Homeland Security officials and urging them to switch to superior non-animal training methods immediately.
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.
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan
Update: After reviewing
evidence submitted by PETA, the National Institutes of Health has reprimanded
the University of Colorado–Denver (CU) for repeatedly violating federal animal
welfare guidelines in its laboratories, criticized it for not reporting the
problems, and ordered the university to repay grant money used for noncompliant
experiments on animals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's investigation into
CU's laboratories is still underway.
Originally posted January 29:
It's starting to feel like
déjà vu: PETA has once again filed formal complaints with the federal
government about the abuse of animals in laboratories at the University of Colorado–Denver
(CU). Through a state open-records request, PETA has just learned
that the same neglect and incompetence that we documented there in a 2007
investigation are still occurring.
The records show that during
just the past two years, at least 60 animal welfare incidents—dozens of which may constitute
violations of federal law and guidelines—have occurred, including
Based on PETA's undercover investigation, in 2007, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited CU for serious
violations of the Animal Welfare Act and also issued the university an official
warning letting it know that it would be fined $10,000 per incident if it were found violating the law
again. It's time for the government to follow through on that warning and stop
CU's abuses for good.
Please ask the
federal government to stop funding cruel animal experiments and to put your tax
dollars toward modern, humane non-animal research methods.
PETA has submitted a 64-page petition, which includes case
studies, photographs, and expert statements, to the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) asking the agency to create and apply specific regulations for bears held captive in appalling conditions
by exhibitors, dealers, and research facilities. By allowing bears to be kept
in squalid cages and concrete pits and denied everything that is natural and
important to them, the USDA is clearly failing to ensure anything close to
humane treatment of captive bears, in violation of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
Last month, PETA successfully used legal action to rescue a bear named Ben, who was kept for six long years at Jambbas Ranch in a cramped cage with a concrete floor. Ben was fed dry dog food once a day
and spent most of his waking hours pacing the few square feet allotted to him. Despite
Ben's obvious suffering and multiple complaints from PETA and others, USDA
inspectors failed to cite Jambbas for violations related to Ben. In state court,
however, a judge ruled that the conditions in which he was being kept
constituted cruelty to animals, proving that the federal AWA isn't preventing
cruelty to captive bears.
While Ben's story has a happy ending, hundreds of other
bears will continue to languish in squalid conditions unless the USDA takes action.
Roadside zoos like Jambbas and the Cherokee Bear Zoo account for
the majority of USDA licensees with captive bears. These shabby facilities keep
bears in tiny barren cages or concrete pits with woefully inadequate space,
lack of physical or mental stimulation, and inappropriate diets and in
conditions that deny the bears any opportunity to engage in natural behavior,
such as hibernating and foraging. Because their needs aren't being met, many
bears in roadside zoos spend most of their time pacing, cage-biting, and
head-butting, which experts agree are signs of distress.
Bears have a natural life span of up to three decades, and
some species can have a home range of thousands of miles. According to the International Zoo Yearbook, "[I]t is recognized
that bears are extremely difficult and challenging creatures to manage in the
captive environment"—just as challenging, according to studies, as
primates. For example, in a study of 33 carnivorous species, bears showed the
most evidence of stress and psychological dysfunction in captivity. An Oxford University study ultimately concluded that "the
keeping of naturally wide-ranging carnivores should be either fundamentally
improved or phased out." But the requirements for bears' care currently
fall under the AWA's minimum regulations for a wide variety of unspecified
species, and the USDA is failing to use these generic regulations to protect
In addition to a specific prohibition on keeping bears in
abysmal concrete pit–style enclosures, PETA has proposed regulations that would
require that bears be furnished with naturalistic habitats, dens for nesting
and hibernation, pools for bathing, enough room to forage and explore,
enrichment, and other elements that would improve bears' mental and physical
Speak up for bears in captivity! Please join PETA in urging the
USDA to formulate bear-specific standards to be added to the AWA.
Rather than follow in Rio Rancho's compassionate footsteps, the New Mexico
State Fair has decided to allow Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
to perform on the state fairgrounds from June 1 to 3 despite Ringling's long
history of animal abuse and the vocal opposition of many citizens. You can
express your disagreement with the state fair's decision by calling the general
manager of the state fair, Dan Mourning, at 505-222-9739 and politely telling
him that Ringling should not be allowed to perform on the state fairgrounds. You can also
follow up your call with an e-mail to Mourning.
Ringling just got its bell rung, courtesy of Rio Rancho, New Mexico. The circus was scheduled
to perform in the city in June, but because of Ringling's sordid history of
violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and its recent $270,000 fine from
the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the city refused to issue Ringling a
permit to perform.
James Preston|cc by 2.0
Just last year, Rio Rancho added a
provision to its animal ordinance barring any animal shows that had been fined
by the USDA in the past five years or cited for violating the AWA in the last
three years. Since Ringling just paid the largest fine in circus history last year and racked up 10 violations of the
AWA in the past three years, it certainly didn't pass muster. PETA has sent a
thank-you letter to the city.
Ringling is trying to haul "The Cruelest Show on Earth" to the state
fairgrounds in Albuquerque. PETA is appealing to the Tingley Coliseum at the
fairgrounds, detailing Ringling's long history of animal abuse and urging the venue to block the circus just as Rio Rancho has.
state fair officials at 505-222-9700 and politely urge them not to allow
Ringling to perform. You can follow up your call with an e-mail to the general manager of the
state fair, Dan Mourning.
You might recall that last fall, PETA convinced
Simon Property Group, the largest real estate company in the country, to ban exotic-animal exhibits
at all its properties. At one mall that Simon owns in Winchester, Virginia, Cole Bros. Circus makes an annual appearance during the city's Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival,
which means that Cole Bros. would have to skip this city altogether or use only
human performers in its show—no animals whatsoever.
Marion Doss|cc by 2.0
To our surprise, that is just what the circus
is doing! The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival announced that Cole Bros. had
created "a new-concept circus in 2012 entitled 'Circus of the Stars' that
they feel will be just as dazzling and just as amazing as previous circuses."
I'm of the opinion that seeing a circus replete with daring and funny human performers would be considerably more exciting than watching frightened, abused animals forced to do silly tricks.
Cole Bros. has a long history of repeatedly
violating the Animal Welfare Act and recently incurred a $15,000 fine after
PETA filed two complaints with the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding the
physical safety and psychological well-being of two of its elephants. It was
also forced to pay $150,000 for illegally selling endangered elephants to
someone wholly unable to provide them with proper care, in violation of the Endangered
But this humans-only circus is a great
start toward making Cole Bros.' abuse of animals a thing of the past, and PETA
will continue working to have venues host only the circus's animal-free
In a moving TV news report about two bear cubs orphaned near Cherokee,
North Carolina, who were rehabilitated and released into their native habitat, Cherokee Chief
Michell Hicks commented, "It makes you feel good to know that you were
able to help an animal that was in an unfortunate situation." PETA wants
Chief Hicks to feel even better, so we're asking him to help other bears in
unfortunate situations: those who are languishing in Cherokee's squalid bear pits.
three roadside zoos on the reservation—Cherokee Bear Zoo, Chief Saunooke Park,
and Santa's Land—have all received numerous U.S. Department of Agriculture citations for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including failing to provide
veterinary care, feeding bears moldy food, exposing bears to electrical outlets
and sharp metal, and leaving bears' fur caked with feces.
But despite the citations, the bears are
still kept in barren concrete cages, where they exhibit neurotic behaviors
brought on by the stress of intense confinement, such as pacing, walking in
circles, crying, and begging tourists for food.
Hicks said the rehabilitation of the bear cubs showed the kind hearts of the
Cherokee people. Ask him to extend that compassion to all bears by working to close
the Cherokee bear pits and retire the animals to sanctuaries.
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.