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What Do Roadside Zoos, SeaWorld, and Ringling Have in Common?

Written by Jennifer O'Connor | July 29, 2014

PETA Foundation’s Captive Animal Law Enforcement division (CALE) knows exactly what legal protections captive animals are afforded and demands that enforcement agencies take action when zoos or circuses flout the law. The following are some recent examples:

  • The notorious Natural Bridge Zoo in Virginia has repeatedly been cited, been fined, and had its license suspended. Even though it’s currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), recent visitors to the roadside zoo report having seen a sickly looking baby camel pacing frantically, a goat who appeared to have an abscess on her face, a capuchin monkey who was missing nearly all the hair on his or her back, cages strewn with feces, and many other animals who paced incessantly in apparent distress. CALE filed a detailed complaint with the USDA asking it to take action against this despicable roadside zoo.
  • Acting on a CALE complaint, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigated Georgia’s Yellow River Game Ranch and cited the disreputable roadside zoo for a “serious” violation of federal employee safety laws. Employees had been exposed to potential attacks from black bears and bobcats when they entered the animals’ cages—apparently, without any barriers between them and the animals—during sanitation and feeding. OSHA assessed the roadside zoo a $2,800 penalty.
  • CALE asked the USDA to send an inspector out immediately to check on an elephant traveling with Ringling Bros. who appeared to have a swollen lump on the right side of her face. According to an elephant expert, the lump is likely a pressure wound, something that often develops when elephants who have very little mobility are forced to lie down on hard surfaces.
    pressurewound
  • CALE filed a complaint with the USDA after learning that orcas at SeaWorld Orlando and San Diego have routinely been covered with black zinc oxide to prevent and conceal sunburn. Federal laws require that animals have sufficient shelter from direct sunlight, so SeaWorld cannot legally allow orcas to be seared by the sun.
  • After CALE filed a complaint about Ohio’s Farm at Walnut Creek, a USDA inspector smacked the roadside zoo with citations for seven repeat violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, such as failing to provide apparently sick and/or injured animals, including one who was so thin that her spine and ribs were clearly visible,  with veterinary care; allowing animals to ingest potentially toxic plants; and placing a spring trap—intended to capture muskrats—in a kangaroo enclosure.

Keep checking back for more updates about this division’s lifesaving work.

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  • I do not understand why it takes nothing short of an act of G-d to close down circuses, zoos, and entertainment parks where animals are notably treated like garbage, rather than as the miraculous creatures that they are! Why are the laws so incredibly lax when it comes to helping out these animals? I wish I knew the answer to these questions. So saddened and sickened by all of the unnecessary negligence.:(

  • If we stop ALL animal abuse, testing, circus, cruel and neglectful keeping and inhumane slaughter, hunting and toxic waste and more, we will have a chance,a Chance of correcting three balance of this world, and of evolving into the higher being we suppose ourselves, very wrongly, to be..I weep from my soul to think I live amongst such cruel and self interested human beings and I thank God I’m not the only one who DOES care

  • Dane Smith says:

    I see that a lot of people have posted to stop the fines and do something about it. Personally I think they should raise the price of the fines so high that it hurts the pockets of the fat cats running these places. Maybe then they’d start taking proper care of their animals or just close down for good. I’d be happy if they all closed but I’d also like to see all of the animals being properly cared for.

  • Anne says:

    What kind of barbarians are those cruel people , is there no justice?????

  • Hank Ramirez says:

    Please stop frequenting these cruel prisons!

  • Jorja says:

    I do not attend the circus for this very reason. Animals need to be loved and respected. Please stop with the abuse to these elephants and any other animals you have in your possession!

  • Valerie Orner says:

    Take animals out of the circus. They belong in their own environment–not entertaining people who are looking for creatures doing what they WERE NOT MEANT TO DO!!!

  • Michele Desgain says:

    Come on world ! We have to help these poor babies get to freedom ! It is so wrong whats happening to these elephants and all the other animals that are forced into slavery !

  • June Dinan says:

    If we All stop going to the circus there will be No need to have abused elephants. Please stop!

  • Denise Erika Stephens says:

    And.. remember, leave PETA in your will.. so that your belief, your values continue after you leave this cruel earth. Thank God for PETA!!!!!!!!

  • Denise says:

    I hope God makes sure they get their day

  • Jeannine says:

    Why does Sea World and Barnum and Baily Circus get away with all this abuse.? Is there a pay-off to the government? We are supposed to be a civilized country but come come behind many smaller nations in dealing with animal abuse. It needs to stop.

  • Oomen says:

    This abuse has to stop!

  • Mary przybylowicz says:

    STOP the INSANITY. STOP BEING CRUEL. STOP ALL the ACTS involving any type of ANIMAL. What is wrong with you people and what is wrong with the trainers. Your there to help not hinder and mistreat. Most if not all are mistreated by humans. STOP..

  • Andrea Ellis says:

    I agree with all the people that aqree sick and tired of reading and hearing about abused and destroyed animals in the name of research and or entertainment!! Let the wild animals be free and wild where the hearts belong. The domesticated animals must be neutured and spayed so the puppy mills will have nothing to sell .We can stop this,. We can have a voice for these wonderful creatures that amaze me everyday. I WILL NEVER EAT MEAT AGAIN. I have tried and I can’t swallow it anymore after seeing cows with their throats slashed still alive. I’m sending back the boots I bought as I found out they are leather and made in the hell hole China. I refuse to wear , buy or ever put one penny of my money into the Chinese world of torture. they are sick…..I may be one women but I can make a difference and I will continue my new Vegan way of life , n
    Never seeing a circus with animals and I’m going out with my cell phone video running to some GA dairy farms and see what goes on around my area. I will blow the whistle on anyone and everyone that abuses any type of animal. May God bless the animals wonderful souls and hearts and may God help the torturers that will pay for what they have done……

  • michelle brione says:

    Their has to strong legislation preventing this animals shouldn’t be in circuses period lets get get laws started we need to join forces send messages to Washington DC NOW DEMAND LAWS to be put in place preventing this once and for all NOW STOP talking about it lets make it happen who’s INN

  • Lucy LLoyd says:

    We in the UK have terrible puppy farms, the RSPCA are very overstretched although they do all they can with the resources they have. Also we have problems with illegal dog fighting, fox hunting,hare coursing and horrendous cruelty in intensive farming. Some human beings are nothing but dispicable despots!!

  • Sue Nelson says:

    We live near the Yellow River Game Ranch that was mentioned in this post. We used to go regularly when our kids were in elementary school. The ranch at that time was always filthy and the stench was horrible when we would go and pay an overpriced admission. They are now in their 30’s and I can only imagine how run down the place is. It should have been shut down 30 years ago!

  • Nour says:

    BoycottTheCircus

  • Marie Hill says:

    Fines don’t seem to make a bit of difference to these greedy places. When will the fines stop and real action happen to protect these creatures. Close them down. Their ignorance of the law speaks volumes to how little they care for their animals. The mighty profit line is their goal not the welfare of these amals

  • etienne says:

    The infamous Natural Bridge Zoo in Virginia must be closed for good. Let the animals get their freedom back from these bandits that have plagued elephants through whole life, also the other animals!!

  • I AM ASHAMED OF MY COUNTRY AND HOW THE HORRIFIC ABUSE IS IGNORED BY AUTHORITIES, IT HAS TO STOP. MILLIONS OF AMERICANS HAVE STOPPED EATING MEAT, STOPPED GOING TO CIRCUSES, STOPPED GOING TO SEAWORLD, AND HAVE REPORTED AND COMPLAINED TO THE NETWORKS,AND NOT ENOUGH IS BEING DONE. WE THE PEOPLE WANT IT TO STOP,

  • Maureen Mercer says:

    Wish these places could be closed down and the animals find a safe haven.

  • sherri says:

    So why is this not stopped! Why is it allowed to continue until their death. They take animals from stupid people to stop the abuse. This should just be taken just like a dog, cat or horse or donkey.

  • Anne-maria says:

    Just disgusting to treat such beautiful innocent animals like this they should so ashamed!!!

  • Denise says:

    Why aren’t repeat offenders shut down? Obviously these small fines are not a deterrent to do well by these animals. I just as soon they all be shut down, but in the meantime, these fines need to be much bigger, and we need the (3) strikes you are out rule. The USDA needs to be following up on these fines, to make sure problems corrected. It all disgusts me.

  • Zulma Sofia says:

    Please do some thing to force this people to offer better care for these animals or stop completely the abuse to this animals. They need to be in the wild with his family and their kind. Please help them and thank you PETA for watching in the name of the animals and their well being.

  • Mollie says:

    this is so awful when is this going to end all of these circuses should be banned forever

  • mare Reasons says:

    I AM SO LIVID, OUTRAGED AT RINGLING BROTHERS WHEN IS THIS DISGUSTING PRACTICE GONNA END, AND WHATS WRONG WITH DAMM PUBLIC, I WILL BE IN SACRAMENTO FOR THE PROTEST IN SEPT. I CANOT SHUT UP

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