Written by Jeff Mackey
PETA is calling for an investigation by the U.S. Department
of Agriculture's (USDA) inspector general following the departure of the agency's former deputy
general counsel, Kenneth Vail—the man who was tasked
with enforcing animal protection regulations for the USDA and who has now taken a
job with the Ringling
Bros. circus, which is counted among the
most egregious animal abusers in the country.
Yeah, that doesn't seem shady at all, does it?
Before officially becoming Ringling's paid protector, Vail served
as the USDA's lead legal counsel for animal welfare matters. Yet he repeatedly failed to take enforcement
action against Ringling Bros.—despite a mountain of proof provided by PETA that
exposed flagrant animal
abuse and the concealment of evidence and even when the USDA's own Investigative and
Enforcement Services (IES) recommended seeking penalties.
Vail's failures to seek enforcement against Ringling are
many, including these:
Unsurprisingly, Ringling, a company that abuses and has
killed animals, is notorious for its complete lack of scruples when it comes to
making sure that it gets its way, including procuring the services of well-connected Washington
insiders to sway their former
colleagues and hiring an ex-CIA agent to intimidate critics and spy on and steal from PETA.
It's not surprising that Ringling would like Vail, who
certainly seems to have given the circus special treatment for years during his
government tenure. But even for such a shameless and unscrupulous enterprise as
Ringling, the cozy deal to formally hire Vail to be the circus's "Animal
Welfare Act compliance officer" raises the specter of impropriety. That's
why PETA is urging the USDA's inspector general to investigate whether Vail has
violated (or is currently violating) any federal conflict-of-interest laws.
As a result of PETA's relentless pressure on the USDA to
take action in behalf of these animals, Ringling was recently forced to pay the largest penalty for AWA
violations in circus history—after Vail left the USDA. While this was an important step, the government must now
take action to confiscate the arthritic elephants forced by Ringling to travel
up to 50 weeks a year in filthy, poorly ventilated boxcars and to perform
painful, unnatural tricks.
Never buy a ticket for Ringling Bros. or any other circus that
uses animals, and please join PETA in asking the USDA to confiscate the lame
elephants suffering under Ringling's domination immediately.
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.