Written by Alisa Mullins
After hearing from PETA supporters and other concerned citizens, the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service (FWS) announced this week that it is proposing to close a
loophole that, until now, has denied captive chimpanzees protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). If the
proposed rule is adopted and properly enforced, as
PETA has advocated, Hollywood
will no longer be able to force baby chimpanzees—who
are torn away from their mothers, caged, and "trained" through beatings—to
perform in TV shows, ads, and movies. And laboratories will stop subjecting chimpanzees
to invasive, painful, and lethal experiments—a recommendation that the National Institutes of Health has
© Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals
In announcing the proposed rule, the
FWS concluded that "the
Act does not allow for captive‐held animals to be assigned separate legal status from
their wild counterparts on the basis of their captive state."
This should mean that
the government now has no justification for denying PETA's petition to include Lolita—who is
currently being held in solitary confinement in a cramped tank at the Miami Seaquarium—in the endangered
listing of the Southern Resident orcas, the now-protected
population that she was captured from more than 40 years ago.
You Can Do
Please submit comments to the FWS asking it to finalize its proposal to classify all chimpanzees, including captives, as endangered. Then take a
moment to sign our
petition urging the National Marine Fisheries Service to grant Lolita the same
protection from harm afforded her family in the wild. And tell everyone you
know not to patronize marine abusement
Written by Michelle Kretzer
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
Written by Jeff Mackey
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.
npmeijer | cc by 2.0
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 Jennifer OConnor
It took a PETA
lawsuit to compel the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to change course,
but after three decades of secretly and illegally issuing hundreds of Endangered Species Act (ESA) permits to circuses, roadside zoos, and other animal
exploiters, the FWS will change its ways.
"captive-bred wildlife (CBW) permits"—previously allowed animal
exhibitors like the notorious Ringling Bros. circus
and Have Trunk Will Travel to harm and harass captive-bred endangered animals like Asian
elephants without any public scrutiny or comments on their plans. Now, anytime circuses
and operators of traveling and roadside displays want to "take" an endangered
species (which includes harming, harassing, and wounding them to force them to perform
in shows), they will
be subjected to public scrutiny and forced to adhere to ESA requirements.
An example of how all this can help animals
harkens back to one of PETA's earliest exposés—this one involving Las Vegas "entertainer"
Bobby Berosini, whose CBW permit was suspended (and his show closed) after PETA
revealed that he had viciously beaten the orangutans used in his tawdry act.
Bros. circus has a pending CBW permit application that would allow it to take
endangered elephants and leopards, so please click here to voice your objections to the FWS right
Federal laws are known for having loopholes,
and a regulation that allows notorious animal abusers and profiteers to use
chimpanzees for purely commercial purposes and in horrific laboratory experiments needs to be closed right now. Currently, only wild chimpanzees are protected as
endangered under the Endangered Species Act—captive chimpanzees are
these protections—but that could soon change.
The U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service (FWS) has proposed an amendment that would remove this
major exemption and protect wild and captive chimpanzees equally for the first
time. PETA supports this new rule
since it means captive chimpanzees who are forced to perform confusing and
unnatural tricks in the name of entertainment and who suffer at the hands of callous experimenters would be given
the full protection of the Endangered Species
Act, which prohibits harming and harassing listed species.
The FWS is asking the public for comments on this
proposed change and needs to hear from you by the end of the day on January 30.
Click here to urge the FWS to give captive chimpanzees the same protections currently
afforded to their wild counterparts.
On the heels of the
record $270,000 penalty paid by Feld Entertainment—the parent
company of Ringling Bros. and
Barnum & Bailey Circus—PETA is renewing
our call for the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service (FWS) to deny the company's
application to import
eight tigers and a leopard in violation of the federal
Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The ESA prohibits importing endangered species except
for "scientific purposes" or to benefit the survival of the species. It's
beyond a stretch for the circus to claim that it's helping tigers by jamming them into tiny cages and
whipping them into submission. Many of the violations that Ringling paid a
penalty to settle involved big cats, including a tiger who suffered a
laceration after her tail was slammed in a cage door and a lion who died of
heat exhaustion in a sweltering boxcar while crossing the Mojave Desert.
The FWS has a duty
to protect animals from harm and should not cave in to the demands of an
influential corporation that just agreed to pay a huge fine for alleged violations
of federal law.
Written by PETA
This morning, PETA Vice President Dan Mathews appeared on the Today show to talk about the court case involving Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Alert PETA Files readers will recall that Ringling has been sued by a coalition of animal protection groups over what they allege are violations of the Endangered Species Act. Namely, they're arguing that beating elephants with bullhooks and keeping them chained for hours or even days on end are no way to treat an endangered species.
Here's a little refresher: Over the course of the six-week trial, reams of evidence were trotted out to support reports that Ringling keeps elephants chained for an average of more than 26 hours at a time, sometimes for as many as 60 to 100 hours straight, and that elephants often suffer from bleeding wounds after being struck with bullhooks. Former Ringling employees testified about the horrors they witnessed while on Ringling's payroll, which included seeing an elephant who was violently beaten for a solid half hour.
The judge is still weighing his verdict, but in the meantime, Ringling is on trial in the court of public opinion. Kudos to Today for helping us expose Ringling for the sleazy animal-abusing con artist that it is.
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.