Update: Groupon’s Deceptive Claims Warrant FTC Action
Update: PETA has filed additional information with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to supplement the complaint that we filed last May. We’re asking the FTC to investigate Groupon’s false and deceptive claims that it promotes only zoos and circuses that have clean U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) records for at least two years prior to an offer. USDA inspection reports show that nearly all the animal exhibitors that Groupon features, including The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park in Oklahoma, have been cited numerous times for violating the Animal Welfare Act during those previous two years.
Originally posted May 20, 2014:
Update: Shareholders attending Groupon’s annual meeting were met outside the building by a line of PETA protesters who were calling out the discounter for promoting roadside zoos and circuses that have deplorable histories of animal care.
Since Groupon says that it promotes only exhibitors with clean records, we are filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission asking the agency to investigate Groupon’s false and deceptive claims.
Originally posted April 21, 2014:
We like a good bargain as much as the next shopper, but when we found out that deal-of-the-day website Groupon is selling out animals by promoting abusive animal circuses, PETA said, “No deal!” Groupon has ignored our polite requests to stop promoting animal abusers, so last week, PETA bought sufficient shares in Groupon to be allowed to address the company’s annual meeting in Chicago next month and to submit a shareholder resolution seeking policy changes.
Although Groupon has claimed that the circuses it promotes “must have clean USDA and public record inspection reports from at least the past 2 years,” U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection reports show otherwise. Almost all the animal circuses that Groupon promotes use exhibitors that have been cited numerous times for violating the Animal Welfare Act, including by endangering the public and animals, failing to provide adequate veterinary care, and handling animals dangerously.
The long list of disreputable outfits promoted by Groupon includes Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Carson & Barnes Circus, SeaWorld, Piccadilly Circus, UniverSoul Circus, Circus Gatti, Shrine circuses, Suncoast Primate Sanctuary, and G.W. Exotic. G.W. Exotic is currently under federal investigation for the deaths of 23 tigers at its roadside zoo in Oklahoma, and Ringling handlers were caught on video beating and jabbing elephants with bullhooks—weapons with a sharp metal hook on one end.
Many companies—including MasterCard, Visa, Ford Motor Co., Sears, Lucky Brand, and General Mills and online deal companies such as Gilt Groupe, Travelzoo, AnyCodes.com, and Certifikid—have ended promotions of circuses. Simon Property Group, the largest mall property owner in the country, banned wild animal exhibits at all its properties after learning about these issues from PETA. Let’s hope Groupon follows suit and stops promoting circuses’ cheap tricks.