Written by Jeff Mackey
For decades, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) illegally
and quietly issued captive-bred wildlife permits—allowing circuses, roadside
zoos, and others to harm, harass, and wound captive-bred endangered species and
making it almost impossible to challenge these abuses. For example, one federal
judge wouldn't allow a former Ringling Bros. circus employee and a
coalition of animal protection groups to challenge Ringling's beating and chaining of captive-bred elephants because Ringling had a captive-bred wildlife permit.
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PETA sued the FWS in August 2011 over its decision to
secretly issue one such permit and ignore a requirement that the public be
notified of all permit applications. We asked the court to require the FWS to
make those applications publicly available and to consider public comments
before making a decision about whether to approve any application.
PETA prevailed in the lawsuit—the agency agreed to do just
that and to pay PETA's attorney fees. This victory will make it easier for PETA
to keep a closer eye on animals bred in captivity by Ringling, SeaWorld, Have Trunk Will Travel, and other animal abusers. It also enables PETA to weigh in on permit
applications and bring legal challenges against permits that are improperly
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What You Can Do
To learn more about helping captive animals, head over to the "Animals Used for
Entertainment" section of PETA.org.
In light of new information about the abusive conditions endured
by a threatened grizzly bear and endangered leopards on the farm of Terry
dozens of wild animals (most of whom were shot by law enforcement) outside Zanesville, Ohio, last October, before killing himself—PETA has sent another urgent letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) renewing its requests for an
investigation into whether the animals were harmed or harassed in violation of
the Endangered Species Act and asking that the surviving animals not be
returned to Thompson's widow, Marian.
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Tom Stalf of the Columbus Zoo, where the animals are
currently being housed, described the condition of the animals as "horrific."
Stalf stated that the grizzly bear was relegated to a bird cage set in a
drained pool and was aggressively chewing on the cage when authorities found
the animal. The Columbus Zoo also reported that when one of the leopards was
injured at the zoo, X-rays showed old injuries, including a broken back and
tail bones, that had not healed. The animal was subsequently euthanized.
The grizzly bear, two leopards, and two macaques are the
only remaining survivors of last year's tragedy. They are quarantined at the
zoo by order of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Ms. Thompson is awaiting a
hearing to challenge the order and seeks to regain possession of the animals.
While PETA works to keep the survivors safe, you can help by
calling the FWS Office of Law Enforcement at 703-358-1949 to politely urge the
agency to investigate whether the Endangered Species Act was violated and to ensure
that the animals are not returned to Marian Thompson.
Written by PETA
PETA is asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to seize animals from Karl Mitchell, whose repeated, flagrant violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) have left us reeling.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rarely yanks exhibitor's licenses, but Mitchell's license was revoked more than 10 years ago and he was fined $27,500 for violations, including filthy living conditions, failing to provide animals with veterinary care, failing to provide wholesome and palatable food and water or adequate space and shelter, and withholding water as a training technique.
On top of his lengthy list of noncompliances, Mitchell also shot and killed a tiger who escaped his control during transport in 2002. He continues to flout the law, and last year, the USDA issued a third cease-and-desist order against him and assessed fines of almost $70,000 for continuing to exhibit exotic animals without a license.
It seems clear that Mitchell is knowingly violating the Captive Wildlife Safety Act (also known as the "Lacey Act"), which gives the FWS grounds to confiscate his animal "inventory." We're also calling on the USDA to file criminal charges against Mitchell, given his repeated violations of the AWA despite multiple cease-and-desist orders.
Please e-mail the FWS to ask officials to seize Mitchell's animals and e-mail the USDA to demand an investigation.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
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.