PETA routinely receives complaints about poor conditions at roadside zoos and privately run menageries throughout the country—facilities that often market themselves as tourist attractions or as refuges for rescued animals. After receiving disturbing information about cruelty, danger, and neglect for animals at one so-called "sanctuary" in Oklahoma known as G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park (GW), PETA sent an undercover investigator to document conditions and see what was really going on.
Instead of being "an upscale zoo for rescued animals" as claimed on its Web site, PETA found dead, dying, and injured animals; extremely crowded conditions; a serious lack of basic necessities such as food, water, and veterinary care; shamefully inadequate cages; and untrained and insufficient staff who were intentionally cruel to numerous animals.
Of the more than 1,000 animals at GW, including tigers, bears, lions, cougars, leopards, chimpanzees, wolf hybrids, macaque monkeys, and baboons, PETA's investigator discovered starving animals going without food—sometimes for days at a time. Animals were routinely hit, punched, kicked, sprayed with cold water, and struck with rakes and shovels. And they were blasted with fire extinguishers to break up frequent fights.
PETA's investigator witnessed many horrors between February and June 2006:
GW also breeds exotic animals, churning out litters of tigers, lions, bears, and other exotic animals. Some are deformed, likely because of inbreeding or inadequate nutrition for the mother during pregnancy. Newborns, many just hours old, are removed from their mothers and dragged around the country to shopping malls and fairgrounds to be used in [J1's] cheesy magic act and for photo ops where the public pays a few bucks for a Polaroid shot posing with a small cub. Many of the babies died within a few weeks, presumably succumbing to the stress of travel and handling by the public.
In January 2006, GW paid a $25,000 fine to settle charges of violating the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and was placed on probation for 18 months. Failure to comply with the AWA during the probation period will result in the revocation of GW's exhibitor license. PETA's investigation uncovered plenty of evidence that GW has not cleaned up its act. Please contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) at email@example.com, and ask that the agency revoke G.W. Exotic Animal Memorial Park's federal license.
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.