Facility That Kept Chimpanzee in Solitary for Years Loses Its License

Published by Alisa Mullins.

After citing The Mobile Zoo in Wilmer, Alabama, for dozens of violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act over the past decade, including “repeated failures to handle animals carefully and to provide them with veterinary care and husbandry,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) finally revoked the hellish facility’s license following an administrative lawsuit.

Tiger at Mobile Zoo

Mobile Zoo

Mobile Zoo

The Mobile Zoo’s long list of abuse includes the following:

  • Housing animals in filthy cages littered with feces, urine, cobwebs, debris, and rotting food
  • Endangering animals and the public through the use of dilapidated, unsecured cages with deteriorating (or nonexistent) perimeter fencing, rotten wood, rusted metal bars and wires, exposed nails, and broken doors with jagged edges
  • Withholding veterinary care from sick and injured animals, including bears who were vomiting and suffering from diarrhea, a deer with a puncture wound, and a tiger with a bloody gash on her face
  • Failing to provide animals with proper shelter and enrichment, including several bears who had inadequate shelter from the sun and no access to water for swimming and cooling themselves in hot weather
  • Allowing cages and storage areas to become infested with roaches and flies as a result of trash and rotten food left lying around
  • Housing tigers, bears, and other animals in cages prone to flooding
  • Failing to provide big cats with a proper, nutritionally balanced diet and fresh, clean water

PETA had filed multiple complaints with the USDA against the roadside zoo over the years, prompting some of the inspections that led to this action. In the USDA’s order revoking the facility’s license, it noted that “[d]espite repeated notices and warnings…the respondents willfully violated the [Animal Welfare] Act and the regulations and standards issued pursuant to the Act” and that “[t]he gravity of the violations herein is great.”

Earlier this year, PETA sued The Mobile Zoo over its abuse of a chimpanzee named Joe, who was kept in solitary confinement for nearly two decades, which we argued violated the Endangered Species Act. We dropped the lawsuit after the facility agreed to retire him to the spacious, tropical Save the Chimps sanctuary in Florida, where he was so excited to meet another chimpanzee for the first time in years that he gave her a hug.

PETA is urging the facility to retire the remaining animals it holds captive to reputable sanctuaries so that they can finally receive the proper care they have been denied for so long.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind