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.
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.
Karl Mitchell's days of terrorizing big cats in Nevada's Nye
County are numbered now that the notorious animal abuser and unrepentant lawbreaker has had his permit to keep exotic animals revoked by
the county's board of commissioners based on information that it received from
PETA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Like Abu Ghraib for
Mitchell, who owns an appalling tiger menagerie called Big
Cat Encounters, has been exhibiting animals even though his exhibitor's license
was permanently yanked by the USDA in
2001, meaning that the county shouldn't have issued him a permit in the first
In February 2012, PETA called on the USDA and the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service to seek criminal charges against Mitchell for exhibiting
tigers and transporting them across state lines without a license. The federal
investigations are still pending.
Over the years, the USDA has cited Mitchell repeatedly for a
wide range of atrocious Animal Welfare Act violations, which include cruelly
withholding water as a training technique,
continuing to exhibit big cats illegally, and failing to provide animals with adequate
veterinary care and living conditions and palatable food and water—just to name
a few. Mitchell has also been slapped with three cease-and-desist orders (which
he, of course, defied) and more than $100,000 in fines.
What You Can Do
Although Mitchell is a particularly flagrant and disgraceful
example of the low ethical standards of his industry, misery is inescapable for
all animals who are imprisoned so that they can furnish a momentary diversion instead
of living their natural lives in freedom. Please never patronize any captive-animal attraction.
Police are investigating the shooting of an elephant used by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The incident reportedly occurred outside the Bancorp South Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi, early on the morning of April 9. Knowing Ringling's shady history when it comes to animals (some years ago, a trainer traveling with Ringling shot a tiger to death while the animal was locked in his cage), PETA is urging authorities to interview all circus employees carefully. Also, as usual, it appears that no veterinarian was on the road with the circus despite a history of animal illnesses and injuries. So with only the self-interested circus's word to rely on, who knows if the elephant is receiving proper care? PETA has increased the reward for information leading to a conviction in the attack.
Numerous Ringling workers have histories of animal abuse, which is why PETA is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and local law enforcement to look particularly closely at the circus's employees—some of whom have been caught on film beating elephants with sharp, heavy bullhooks and some of whom are the subjects of recent sworn eyewitness complaints about animal abuse—when seeking the culprit or culprits in this incident.
To help authorities find the person or persons responsible for this horrendous act, PETA will be adding up to $5,000 to the $250 reward offered by former 1st Congressional District Rep. Travis Childers. Because shooting an Asian elephant is a violation of the federal Endangered Species Act, the FWS is also offering a $5,000 reward.
PETA is also asking the USDA to inspect the injured elephant and ensure that she is receiving adequate treatment. Ringling has a long record of failing to provide elephants used in its shows with adequate veterinary care. The circus commonly travels without a veterinarian—despite the large number of animals it carts all over the U.S.—and the veterinarians it does have often sign off on allowing ailing elephants to perform painful tricks.
Even without the threat of being shot, Ringling's elephants must regularly endure violence and distress. Please urge the USDA to confiscate all the ailing animals from Ringling for placement with reputable sanctuaries. Never, ever patronize circuses that use animals, and tell others to avoid them as well.
Update (April 8, 2013):
Following PETA's complaint that Ramos Bros. Circus was exhibiting exotic
animals in Moreno Valley without a USDA license, Moreno Valley Animal Services "ordered
the circus to stop this activity at the Moreno Valley site" until it has
the proper federal permits.
Originally posted on April 5, 2013, at 10:10 a.m. ET:
PETA is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
and Moreno Valley, California, officials to stop
performances by an unlicensed animal exhibitor. On April 2, the USDA canceled the
Ramos Bros. Circus' license to exhibit animals—without this license, it is
illegal to exhibit animals. Yet Ramos Bros. is performing in Moreno Valley, in violation of federal law.
The circus's disregard for the law is nothing new: The USDA
has previously cited Ramos Bros. for operating without a license. Last year, when
Ramos Bros. illegally exhibited exotic animals in Corona, California, PETA
notified city officials, who took immediate action, ordering the circus to remove the prohibited animals
from the city.
Ramos Bros. has a horrible track record when it comes to taking
care of animals. In January, the USDA issued it a warning for violating the
Animal Welfare Act after a 4-year-old camel ran into the street, endangering
both herself and others. PETA has received numerous reports that Ramos Bros. ties
animals up so tightly that they cannot stand, forces them to live in urine- and
feces-covered enclosures, and fails to provide them with adequate water and
The abuse of animals is not entertaining. Please enlist everyone you can to help us
end cruelty to animals in circuses and enjoy animal-free
Less than a year after a security guard reported the abuse of a chained
elephant by a bullhook-wielding Ringling Bros.
circus handler in Colorado, an employee at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum—a venue
where PETA captured Ringling bullhook use on video as part
of a 2009 undercover investigation—has reported more bullhook abuse during Ringling's March 2013 tour there.
PETA's 2009 investigation of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus found that workers were beating, whipping, and hooking elephants and striking tigers.
Based on the whistleblower's affidavit, PETA has submitted a
complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), along with an urgent
request for the agency to inspect Ringling while it remains in New York
(through April 3). The arena staffer—who also noted that she saw no exercise pens set
up for the tigers—complained to the Nassau County District Attorney
Office's animal-cruelty unit, which is investigating.
Hasn't being slapped with the USDA's largest-ever penalty against a circus for violations of the Animal Welfare Act deterred Ringling
from abusing elephants? Please politely urge USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to finally seize Ringling's
suffering elephants and transfer them to a reputable
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.
We have some news to share about a case that we've mentioned recently: Disreputable animal exhibitor Hugo Liebel, facing a hearing next week in Florida, has instead
settled with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding 33 violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA)—several of which sprang from charges that followed
PETA complaints to the agency.
The USDA's consent decision orders Liebel to stop violating
the AWA and to pay a civil penalty of $7,500. While it's encouraging to see
Liebel called to account for causing so much suffering, the fine is vastly inadequate
in light of the severity of his abuse and negligence. (Liebel faced a maximum
penalty of $330,000 as well as possible license revocation.)
More critically, it leaves Nosey the elephant and other animals—as well as the public—in danger from his well-documented recklessness and
disregard of even minimal welfare guidelines.
PETA has been filing complaints against Liebel for nearly a
decade—more than a dozen of them since 2009 alone—about Nosey and the other
animals traveling with Liebel. Yet despite multiple citations, he has
habitually abused these animals. So PETA is calling on the USDA's inspector general
(IG), Phyllis K. Fong, to investigate the settlement.
Over the past two decades, the IG's office has issued four
audit reports finding that USDA penalties were so low that they provided no
deterrent effect and that AWA licensees view them as merely one of the costs of
doing business. Despite assurances that the agency would address this issue
following the last audit, Liebel's settlement makes it clear that the problem
Please join PETA in urging the IG to investigate the USDA settlement
with Liebel and require penalties strong enough to curb animal abuse by
exhibitors. Send polite e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following a complaint filed by PETA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed PETA's allegations of rampant abuse of cats in a taxpayer-funded brain experiment at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW), where actor James Cromwell was arrested during a protest last month. The USDA also cited UW for violating federal animal protection laws by burning a cat named Broc so badly with a heating pad that she required surgery.
In a scathing report just obtained by PETA, a federal inspector found "a pattern of recurring infections" and that all the cats whom PETA profiled in its complaint had been "diagnosed with chronic infections" after having steel posts screwed into open wounds on their heads and metal coils implanted into their eyes.
The USDA noted that some cats, including Slinky, have died because of these infections and that one cat named NJ even had to have her eye removed after the metal coil became the site of frequent serious infections.
The government report includes never-before-seen heartbreaking photographs of NJ, Broc, and the five other mutilated cats who are still alive in the laboratory. We now know the faces of the other victims of this laboratory besides Double Trouble.
All these new revelations confirm what PETA has been saying for months: UW tortures animals and doesn't mind twisting the truth about it. Even though it knew it wasn't true, in interviews and statements UW has shamelessly claimed that the government had not substantiated any of PETA's allegations and that it wasn't cited for its abuse of cats. In fact, during the same period it was claiming it had been cleared, UW was trying in vain to appeal the government's citation.
The cats in UW's labs are suffering miserably, and they don't have time for more evasions and excuses—now exposed as deceptive spin. Please urge the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents to put an immediate halt to these cruel experiments.
reports from whistleblowers that a whitetip shark died during the production of
a Kmart commercial, PETA is urging the chain to investigate the incident immediately
and to adopt a policy against using wild animals in its ads. According to the
whistleblowers, the 5-foot shark was flown from New York to Los Angeles on
March 6 and placed in a small above-ground pool in Van Nuys, California. Human actors repeatedly jumped in and out of the
pool during the shoot, which likely caused the animal to stress.
PETA was told that The American Humane Association
(AHA), which approved the script and was on set, allowed shooting to continue
for about an hour after the shark began exhibiting signs of stress. The shark
was then reportedly taken out of the pool and died later that day.
are delicate animals who, in captivity, require a highly specialized and
controlled environment. Sharks have exceptional sensory systems that allow them
to detect minute electrical fields and sense low-frequency sounds and
vibrations. The noise and chaos of a commercial shoot is a very stressful
environment for these sensitive animals.
Animatronic and CGI sharks have been in use for
nearly 40 years in films such as Jaws, Bait 3D, Deep Blue Sea, and Shark
Night. In addition to urging Kmart to adopt a
policy against using wild animals in its commercials, PETA is contacting the
AHA regarding its failure to protect the shark.
One animal death is one too many.
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.