Written by Guest Blogger
an essay published this week in the Orlando Sentinel, reptile specialist Clifford Warwick—who has assisted PETA
with several cases, including our investigation into the notorious exotic-animal
dealer U.S. Global Exotics—spoke out about the abuse and neglect that is inherent in the
exotic "pet" trade:
Last week, a Brazilian man was
caught trying to smuggle 27 snakes wrapped in nylon hose and stashed inside
stereo speakers, checked as luggage, at Orlando International Airport. He allegedly admitted that he planned to breed them for
the pet trade.
Days earlier, a 17.5-foot-long
Burmese python was captured in the Everglades, probably at one time a pet [who] had been dumped or
In July, a baby in Illinois was
found with a python — believed to be a neighbor's escaped pet — biting and
contracting around his foot as he slept in his crib. . . .
Unfortunately, in my experience with
human and animal health, as well as wider issues of ecology, species
conservation and even economics, harm is inherent and almost universal in
exotic pet keeping. What is abnormal, derided and a prosecutable abuse of a
dog, such as keeping him or her almost constantly locked up in a small kennel,
is normal "care" for an exotic pet, whose life will almost certainly
be spent in a wooden and glass box, wire cage or aquarium.
Ironically, if exotic-pet keepers
saw a small dog or a cat imprisoned in a fish tank with a light bulb for warmth
and some crickets as food, then they, too, would recognize the outrageous
dearth of even basic humane provisions and view the treatment and the animal's
life as nothing less than abusive and cruel. …
Most reptile keepers I know are
passionate about their hobby, but their level of biological knowledge is,
frankly, appalling. …
It is predictable, then, that what
follows is animal stress, disease and death; a recent scientific analysis
conducted in the U.K. shows that three-quarters of all pet reptiles die in
their first year in the home — and that excludes the heavy trade-related losses
that are known to be around 70 percent within just six weeks. . . .
Almost weekly now, independent
scientific and medical evidence is emerging that reveals the depth of the
problems associated with exotic pet trading and keeping. Based on the evidence,
communities around the world are realizing that the only meaningful action is
to ban the commercial trade and, in some cases, also keeping. …
[P]ublic health and safety, animal
welfare and species and environmental protection easily outweigh the habit of
keeping wild animals where they do not belong, do not thrive and, more often
than not, die prematurely and badly.
Via the Orlando Sentinel
Written by Michelle Kretzer
Tess and Amelia weren't always sitting so pretty.
were rescued during PETA's
investigation of U.S. Global Exotics (USGE), a massive exotic-animal
dealer that denied the animals it warehoused veterinary care, adequate space,
ventilation, heat, and even adequate food and water. Tess's and Amelia's luck
changed when they were seized from USGE, along with 26,000 other animals.
found a home with a PETA member replete with love, toys, treats, and a thousand
comfy places where a hamster can curl up and spend a
Veterinarian Gene F. Giggleman has been formally
reprimanded and fined $2,500 by the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical
Examiners based on allegations of unprofessional and/or dishonorable conduct following
PETA's investigation at U.S.
Global Exotics (USGE), a massive exotic-animal
dealer where Giggleman was the attending veterinarian.
In this previously unreleased video footage,
Giggleman smashes squirrels' heads into a cinderblock and recommends that workers
cut sick snakes' heads off or "freeze 'em solid" in order to kill
The board found that Giggleman lost his
controlled-substances log and falsely signed legally required documents attesting
to the health of animals he had never examined so that they could be shipped
overseas for the exotic-pet trade.
Despite the board's findings, he is
still licensed to practice veterinary medicine in Texas and has retained his
job as a professor at Parker University in Dallas.
PETA's undercover investigation of USGE provided evidence of the abuse of more
than 27,000 animals and resulted in the seizure of the animals and the closure of the business. Facing federal charges in connection with violating
a wildlife protection order called the "Lacey Act," including
smuggling, conspiracy, and aiding and abetting, former USGE owner Jasen Shaw and his wife, Vanessa, fled the country and are believed to be hiding in New
Zealand. Interpol has issued a notice about Shaw and his arrest warrants.
Giggleman is still under investigation
by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for his actions at USGE. Help ensure that
Giggleman is held accountable for all that he did at USGE by urging Sarah R.
Saldaña, the United States attorney for the Northern District of Texas, to
charge Giggleman with felony and/or misdemeanor violations of the Lacey Act.
Contact Saldaña through her office's
public information officer, Kathy Colvin.
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
According to a whistleblower, two bearded dragons languished in the back room of a Chicago-area PetSmart store for six months, apparently suffering from improperly treated eye infections that spread to their jaws and caused their faces to rot away.
After pressure from PETA, the store's manager finally took the bearded dragons to a veterinarian who put them out of their misery, but untold numbers of other animals are likely languishing in PetSmart stores and its suppliers' warehouses across the country. PETA's undercover investigations have shown time after time that this kind of cruelty is business as usual for PetSmart and its suppliers.
PETA revealed horrors at Rainbow World Exotics, one of PetSmart's main animal suppliers, including throwing live animals into the trash, crude neuter surgeries performed in a dark and filthy room by a layperson, depriving animals of desperately needed veterinary care, and leaving them to cannibalize each other, suffer, and die alone in their cages.
At Sun Pet, another PetSmart supplier, an employee—who has since been fired—placed hamsters in a bag and bashed it against a table in an attempt to kill them. Other animals who couldn't be sold were gassed in a crude, filth-encrusted tank.
Animals at the now-defunct U.S. Global Exotics, Inc., which supplied exotic animals to PetSmart, were crammed into severely crowded and filthy containers, including soda bottles and milk jugs, litter pans, cattle-feeding troughs, and barren wire cages. Hundreds of animals were denied basic necessities, such as food, water, and veterinary care.
And PETA's undercover investigation of a PetSmart store in Manchester, Connecticut, documented that more than 100 animals—including hamsters, rats, lizards, chinchillas, and birds—were deprived of adequate veterinary care and just left to die slowly, hidden from customers' sight. PetSmart boasted that this store had an "outstanding pet care team" and an "exceptional pet care record." Pathetic.
Please show PetSmart that you haven't forgotten about the animals who suffer unseen. Boycott PetSmart, and tell company officials that you won't set foot in their stores until live animals are no longer part of the inventory.
Written by PETA
A temporary booth set up in Orlando by the
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) started to look like a
scene from The Jungle Book after the
agency gave "amnesty" to people in possession of exotic animals
banned under Florida law and agreed to take in the animals and place them in
facilities equipped to care for them.
The point of the agency's first Exotic Pet Amnesty Day
wasn't to cut illegal animal owners a break—it was to keep owners from simply
turtles, sugar gliders, and other exotic animals loose in the
wild, where they would disrupt the local ecosystem and perish slowly and
Abandonment of exotic animals—who are
usually purchased on impulse by unprepared and uninformed consumers—is just one
of many serious problems associated with the exotic-pet industry.
Many exotic animals are stolen out of their habitats in the wild, torn from
their families, and shipped in cramped, filthy containers across the world before
being warehoused in massive mills, awaiting their ultimate destination: pet
stores, including pet-trade giants PETCO and PetSmart.
A PETA investigation into international
animal dealer U.S. Global
revealed that animals were crammed into pillowcases, shipping crates, troughs,
and even plastic bottles, sometimes for weeks at a time. Many who were sick or
dying were frozen to death in a freezer. Our investigation resulted in the
largest animal seizure in history, the closure of the facility,
and the issuing of an arrest warrant by the federal government for owner Jasen
Shaw. But exotic animals are still suffering at the hands of other dealers like
Rainbow World Exotics
and Sun Pet Ltd.,
which supply PETCO
and PetSmart stores across the country. Despite evidence of systemic cruelty
and neglect at these small-animal factory farms, PETCO and PetSmart refused to
sever ties with Rainbow and Sun Pet and continue to buy animals from them.
Good for the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission for preventing animals acquired on a whim from
suffering uncertain fates in a concrete jungle far from their natural homes. To
help do the same, click here to e-mail PETCO and PetSmart
and demand that they stop selling animals.
by Michelle Sherrow
Update: Exotic animal smuggler, Anson Wong, sentenced! Six months in jail and a hefty fine for illegally exporting 95 boa constrictor snakes.
A broken suitcase at the Kuala Lumpur airport led to the discovery of a mata mata turtle and nearly 100 boa constrictors and other snakes who had been crammed into bags. Notorious international reptile smuggler Anson Wong was arrested by airport security and turned over to Malaysia's wildlife department. Does the name ring any bells?
Two companies owned by Wong were suppliers to U.S. Global Exotics (USGE), the wildlife trafficking company that went belly-up after a PETA investigation led authorities to seize more than 26,000 animals from the company's Texas warehouse and the federal U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to issue an arrest warrant for Jasen Shaw, who is still a fugitive hiding out overseas.
This isn't the first time that Wong has been suspected of slipping a little more into his luggage than duty-free liquor. In 2001, he pleaded guilty to trafficking in wildlife in the U.S. and was sentenced to nearly six years in prison. Yet here he is, nearly a decade later, still stuffing snakes into his Samsonite.
Next time, let's hope that Wong gets busted in China, where they are dead serious about wildlife smuggling (at least for now).
Written by Alisa Mullins
In case anyone needed another reason never to spend a cent at Petland or other stores that sell live animals, Animal Planet is airing a special report tonight showing how puppies suffer even before they end up in Petland stores. According to Animal Planet, an investigation of puppy mills that supply animals to Petland uncovered "more than 140 dogs housed in chicken-wire kennels, water bowls encrusted with mold and containing green water, … and one breeder's confession that she kills healthy dogs because of their less-than-stellar looks."
This appalling cruelty is business as usual at the hellholes that supply animals to Petland. At Sun Pet Ltd., a PETA undercover investigator recently found that animals were crammed en masse into tubs and that a worker bashed hamsters against a table in an attempt to kill them, among other horrors. At U.S. Global Exotics, another Petland supplier, PETA's investigator found that hundreds of thousands of animals were cruelly confined for days or weeks in pillowcases, shipping boxes, or soda bottles and that sick and injured animals were left in freezers to slowly die.
The only reason why animals continue to suffer for Petland and other stores is that people continue to buy them, so let's all get our friends and families to watch this important exposé with us on Animal Planet tonight at 10 p.m. EDT/PDT!
PETA has contacted officials at the Fort Worth Zoo (FWZ) to express our grave concerns about the well-being of frogs, snakes, and other animals at the facility's herpetarium—dubbed the "Museum of Living Art" (MOLA). We're urging them to immediately bring in qualified outside consultants to thoroughly review and evaluate the animals' care and living conditions.
Why are we worried? Because one of FWZ's animal caretakers at MOLA, Ari Flagle, as well as his supervisor, Mike Doss, were both intimately connected to U.S. Global Exotics, Inc. (USGE), from which more than 26,000 exotic animals were seized by authorities, thanks to PETA's undercover investigation.
Before Flagle started at FWZ, he was a supervisor at USGE, where our undercover investigator documented his abusive behavior toward animals and his blatant disregard for their suffering. Flagle intentionally left groups of animals to "die off" and mocked their agonizing deaths. These animals included an emerald tree boa who died after Flagle left the snake outside in the blazing sun and a group of ailing snakes he called "garbage." Here's a video of Flagle's "Worst Of" moments:
The 13 kinkajous who were rescued from hellhole animal dealer U.S. Global Exotics (USGE) following PETA's investigation must be thinking that heaven is a place on Earth right about now.
Goodbye, cramped USGE prison …
Hello, spacious sanctuary!
These animals—along with many of the reptiles who were plucked out of USGE hell—were once confined to tiny, barren cages with nothing to climb and no space to play, but now they have been taken in by the good people at the Phoenix Herpetological Society and are enjoying room to play, multiple nesting areas, misting systems, fans, a pond with running water, and plenty of tree limbs to climb. The kinkajous spend their time playing, sleeping, and snacking on monkey biscuits soaked in fruit cocktail juice.
Don't you love a happy ending? I do! These sweet kinkajous lucked out, but many still need your help! To see what you can do, visit our Action Center.
Here's a beautiful—and lifesaving!—sight for the millions of animals who suffered at the hands of owners and employees of the international animal dealer warehouse formerly known as U.S. Global Exotics, Inc. (USGE):
Yep, that's right—just months after the PETA Files first gave readers a tiny glimpse into PETA's investigation of USGE, the multimillion-dollar business is closed, the filthy warehouse is up for sale, and USGE's former owner, Jasen Shaw, is on the lam! A federal arrest warrant is out for Shaw, alleging violations of the Lacey Act, a federal wildlife protection law enforced by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. Shaw and his wife, Vanessa, are believed to have fled the U.S. and may be hiding in their native New Zealand.
We can finally release additional videos, photographs, and investigation findings that offer even more insight into the hideous pet trade. Thanks to our findings, not one more snake, lizard, frog, sloth, wallaby, hamster, chinchilla, ferret, tortoise, or other animal will be imported from breeding mills or kidnapped from their natural homes to be shipped to USGE's filthy warehouse—and denied food, water, veterinary care, and fresh air; locked inside a filthy, crowded container; or frozen to death.
But millions of other animals are still suffering in the pet trade at hellholes such as Sun Pet—which purchased hamsters from USGE and then sold them to PETCO stores—and they need our help!
We can make a huge difference by urging our friends and family members never to buy animals from pet stores and letting PETCO and PetSmart know that we won't be spending so much as a dime in their stores until they stop selling all animals.
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.