Written by Michelle Kretzer
Benjamin Coultier was just 24
years old when he was mauled to death by a frustrated captive bear. He was cleaning the animal's
cage as part of his job at Animals of Montana, a company that rents out wild
animals for photo shoots as well as film and television productions.
had asked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to
investigate because it appeared that the company's owner, Troy Hyde, had
allowed his employees to be in direct contact with the animals, in violation of
federal workplace-safety laws. Following PETA's request, OSHA found that Hyde had twice
violated the law. He had Coultier clean the bear's cage without first
moving the animals to a holding pen, which directly resulted in the young man's
death, and he failed to report the attack promptly after it occurred. An
investigation by state officials uncovered more problems at Animals of Montana,
including numerous unreported escapes and an attack on an employee by a
mountain lion. The employee sustained a gash in his head that went all the way
to his skull, but Hyde reported it as a "scratch."
OSHA wants to see Hyde pay the maximum
penalty for a small
company, a $9,000 fine. It would be a small measure of justice for the man who
lost his life and the bear who was gunned down after the attack.
What You Can Do
If you have witnessed unsafe or inhumane conditions at a
live-animal attraction or photo opportunity, please let PETA know.
We're happy to report a favorable development in this case:
A court has denied a motion by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to
dismiss the lawsuit brought against the agency by PETA, the Animal Legal
Defense Fund (ALDF), and two Fayetteville-area residents seeking to overturn
the USDA's renewal of Jambbas Ranch Tours' license to continue to operate the
wretched roadside zoo that has racked up dozens of violations of the federal
Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
The ruling comes in the wake of the recent high-profile rescue of Ben the bear, who now resides in a spacious habitat at a sanctuary in
California, thanks to the ruling in the earlier lawsuit mentioned below.
PETA's challenge to the licenses will move forward, but the
animals at Jambbas have no time to lose—please urge USDA officials to revoke Jambbas' license
immediately and offer these animals the chance to live out their lives with the kind of
comfort and dignity that Ben now enjoys.
Originally posted on April 19th, 2012:
of Cumberland County, North Carolina, who are sickened by Jambbas Ranch Tours' pervasive neglect and abuse of animals have joined PETA and the Animal Legal
Defense Fund in suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) over its renewal
of Jambbas' license despite chronic violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
AWA allows an animal exhibitor or dealer to have his or her license renewed only
if the person's business operates in accordance with AWA regulations. But the
USDA has repeatedly renewed Jambbas' license despite the fact that every single inspection of the roadside
zoo between October 2006 and January 2012 resulted in citations for AWA violations
including the following:
is the second pending lawsuit involving Jambbas Ranch. The other suit seeks to
have an abused bear named
Ben removed from Jambbas and relocated to a sanctuary where PETA has made arrangements
for him to live. In this sad video, Ben paces in his barren cage, bites the
chain-link fencing, pushes against it, and tries to reach under it—behavior a
bear expert has identified as a cry for help:
asking the USDA not to renew Jambbas' license, PETA also pointed out several
violations of the AWA that relate to Ben, including a lack of adequate space,
which is likely causing his repetitive, abnormal behavior.
is clearly not qualified to possess an AWA license. We will keep you updated as
the lawsuit progresses.
Written by PETA
annrkist | cc by 2.0
was working as a
driving from one neglect case investigation to another, when I saw him: a large
dog, limping pitifully down the middle of a busy, four-lane street, with
traffic whizzing past him. I stopped my car and got out. The dog stumbled into
my looped slip leash, and when I scratched his ear, he sighed and leaned into
I carried this
thin, dirty fellow to my car. Some dogs stiffen in fear, but this big guy just
melted into my arms. He clearly had been a handsome boy at one point, but his
eyes and nose were now crusted as a result of an upper respiratory infection,
his coat was filthy and matted, and he had an odor that surely bothered him as
much as it did me.
rushed the dog to the animal shelter, where the veterinarian determined that he
was elderly, with enough health issues to merit charges for failure to provide
veterinary care if the person who neglected him could ever be found. Euthanasia was undoubtedly a mercy
for this poor old soul. A technician
gave him an injection, and he left this world.
this day, I find myself asking, "Who denied care to this sweet dog in his
senior years? Hadn't neighbors noticed his condition? Why didn't anyone stop to
save an old dog who was walking down the middle of a busy street?"
met hundreds of animals who have been saved from suffering and danger because a
kind person refused to just look the other way and keep going. Please, for the
sake of animals like this dog, report neglect and abuse immediately, and if you
see an animal in danger, always stop to help.
Written by Scott VanValkenburg, the PETA
Foundation's director of membership communications
& special projects
Shortly after PETA's German affiliate received information from a Bosnian whistleblower who claimed to have identified the girl caught on video hurling puppies into a river, Bosnian police reportedly also identified the girl, whose actions had prompted an international outcry. In the video (which was allegedly shot by the girl's brother), she can be seen cheerfully chucking the whimpering puppies to an almost certain death.
Earlier this week, PETA offered a $2,000 reward—and film director Michael Bay offered a $50,000 reward—for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for this heinous act.
If convicted, the puppy abuser would face a fine of $6,400 under a newly adopted Bosnian animal-protection law.
Written by Alisa Mullins
PETA is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for drowning a litter of helpless puppies in the video above. Members of 4chan were able to track down the owner of the Bosnian YouTube account that originally uploaded the video and we currently have six possible leads, but the identity of the girl has yet to be confirmed. If you have information regarding this case, please contact PETA's Cruelty Investigations Department.
Written by Shawna Flavell
Written by Amy Elizabeth
UPDATE: Mary Bale has been charged with two counts of animal cruelty.
Picture this: A middle-aged woman walks down a residential sidewalk. A friendly cat jumps up on a ledge. The woman stops, pets the cat, and … looks for the cat's guardians? Keeps on walking? No. She pushes the cat to a trash bin, slams the lid, and strolls quickly away.
You don't have to picture it, because the whole sickening scene, which happened in Coventry, England, was caught on a security camera video. The cat, named Lola, spent 15 hours trapped in the bin on a hot day, terrified and eventually covered in her own waste, before her guardians heard her faint cries and rescued her. The woman has been identified.
Lola's ordeal is a prime example of why letting our cats roam outdoors unattended isn't doing them any favors. Cruel people, as well as traffic, poison, aggressive animals, disease, and countless other dangers lurk outside our doors. For tips on keeping cats content in the "great indoors," check out PETA president Ingrid E. Newkirk's book 250 Things You Can Do to Make Your Cat Adore You.
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
For any of you who caught the Miss Universe pageant last night, you'll be relieved to know that it was faux sheepskin that Miss Australia Jesinta Campbell was wearing. After PETA Australia alerted Campbell to the cruelty of mulesing—a crude mutilation that involves cutting large chunks of flesh from the backsides of Australian lambs with instruments resembling gardening shears—Campbell decided to wear faux sheepskin instead of the real thing as part of her national costume.
"I am confirming that Jesinta Campbell Miss Universe Australia will be wearing only synthetic sheepskin on her national costume," Deborah Miller, national director of Miss Universe Australia, told PETA Australia.
As thanks, PETA sent Campbell a box of vegan chocolate sheep. Her kindness was rewarded again when she placed second runner-up and won the pageant's "Miss Congeniality" award. Who says nice girls finish last?
The following is a guest post by Heather Carlson, PETA's manager of Communications.
This year for spring break, I was looking forward to spending a week in Mexico with my family. We planned to relax, scuba dive for the first time, and enjoy each other's company. But when we looked out our bus windows while traveling in the rural Yucatán Peninsula, we saw chickens and pigs in small crates, underweight cows tied to trees, and stray dog after stray dog.
As we arrived in a small Mayan village, I glimpsed a small, seemingly hairless figure out of the corner of my eye. I thought to myself, "That could not possibly have been a dog." The tour bus pulled into the parking lot of a flea market, and as the other tourists filed in to the store, my family and I ran back up the street to the tiny convenience store where I thought I had spotted the dog. Sure enough, there she was: small, nearly hairless, and riddled with mange. Although we approached slowly so that we wouldn't spook her, she cowered and ran away. We were close enough to see that she was dreadfully thin and that her body was riddled with open abscesses—her skin cracked from the progression of the disease that was eating her alive.
The people working at the little store didn't understand our questions about the dog, so we ran back to the tourist market and asked if there was an animal shelter or a vet in the area who could help us with a dog suffering from mange. They did not fully understand us, but they nodded and said "sarna" (which I later learned means "mange") and indicated that there was no animal hospital anywhere in the area. With the tour bus leaving; no car, taxi, or bus services nearby; and barely anyone who spoke English there to help us, my family and I left some food near where we'd seen the dog and reluctantly left her there in Ebtún.
From that moment forward, I made it my mission to find her help. I called home, and PETA's Casework Division worked hard to put me in touch with activists in the area who might be able to help get medical treatment for the dog, whom we had started to call "Maya." One of PETA's caseworkers helped me find someone willing to drive me back to Ebtún, and we spent a day walking around the village looking for her. The villagers indicated that Maya frequented the spot in front of the store but that they hadn't seen her since early that morning. I had to fly back home the next morning and, upon nightfall, we had to leave Ebtún—without little Maya.
When I got back home, I continued looking for someone who could make the journey back to Ebtún to try again to find the dog. After e-mailing, networking via Facebook, and getting in touch with animal lovers in the area, I learned more about the plight of animals in the Yucatán Peninsula. Activists there have quite a challenge in front of them—in a country that openly advertises cockfights on city streets, little is known about spaying and neutering, and there are few protections for animals.
Even though significant time had passed and the odds were clearly stacked against her, I recently received some amazing news—Maya had been rescued. Sophie Van Den Abeele and Emma Guerrero of Cancun Animal Rescue made the three- to four-hour journey from Cancun to Ebtún and spent the day trying to find the little street dog with "sarna"—who, as it turns out, the local villagers had named Muñeca. They found Muñeca just as scared, still suffering from mange, and seemingly pregnant. While they were loading her into the van, another dog approached, and they quickly discerned that she was suffering from a tumor in her vulva. The locals reported that she was also a stray, and so Abeele and Guerrero were able to bring her back with them as well. They arrived back home late at night, and a local vet they often work with tended to the dogs' immediate needs—including removing the second dog's tumor. Both dogs were spayed and have started on the road to rehabilitation.
Please never leave a suffering animal behind if you find one while on vacation. I'm not the only person whose life was touched by what we learned in Mexico—in part because of the suffering of the animals they witnessed from the bus windows on the way to Chichén Itzá, two more members of my family went vegetarian. As a result of our spring break vacation to Mexico this year, I have reserved a special place in my heart for the animals there and for compassionate people like Sophie and Emma who have dedicated their lives to helping them.
Donations to help fund Sophie and Emma's work can be made to the PayPal account of Cancun Animal Rescue Change My World A.C.
After seeing an exhausted and utterly dispirited elephant being forced to give rides all day long at the Indiana State Fair, one visitor wrote us, stating, "[T]his elephant's plight absolutely breaks my heart. … [H]e looks old, tired, thin, and completely miserable. … The sadness in this animal's eyes brought me to tears." Another said, "The pain [in the elephant's eyes] was evident. … [M]y … daughter was reduced to crying so hard at witnessing this that our day was pretty well ruined." Clearly haunted by what she saw, our first tipster added, "I think this elephant is not only a slave, but he's just plain lonely in his misery. He is clearly so terribly heartbroken."
Life on the road is miserable for elephants who are forced to perform at fairs, carnivals, festivals, and circuses. In contrast, for elephants in the wild, each day is filled with traveling, socializing, exploring, swimming, mud-bathing, playing, and foraging. Elephants experience joy, sadness, and fear. Their level of self-awareness continues to amaze researchers worldwide, and it's obvious that this poor elephant who is being dragged around the fair circuit knows exactly what she's missing.
By the way, last year in Indiana, at least 15 children and one adult were injured when an elephant who was being used for rides became startled and stumbled, knocking over the stairway leading to the ride. Several years ago, an elephant grabbed a woman as she was dismounting from a ride and threw her against a tree three times. The woman was in a body brace for three months. And while carrying children on her back at a state fair, an elephant panicked, knocking down and then stepping on the handler. A 3-year-old girl was also injured after falling off the elephant. The list goes on.
Please contact Indiana State Fair officials and ask them to permanently do away with elephant rides.
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.