Yesterday, PETA filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for illegally issuing a permit to an animal exhibitor that would allow the exhibitor to harm, harass, and wound endangered species.
PETA has found several instances in which the FWS issued endangered species permits—which may be issued for “scientific purposes” or to enhance survival of an endangered species—to seedy roadside zoos while improperly keeping the application and the permit from the public. Roadside zoos breed animals in deplorable conditions solely to turn a profit.
|Frank Vassen/cc by 2.0|
We filed suit over one particularly miserable menagerie, Windy Oaks Farm in Hanover, Virginia, which is under formal investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) after chimpanzees escaped from their enclosures three times, prompting PETA to call for an investigation.
Although captive chimpanzees are not currently listed as endangered, Windy Oaks’ lack of experience with and knowledge of these complex and dangerous animals is indicative of its overall incompetence. The zoo has been cited by the USDA for failing to document when it acquired and disposed of animals and whether the animals had received veterinary care in more than a year. Windy Oaks also keeps endangered lemurs and gibbons, two species that have been known to attack humans.
Since PETA and the rest of the public were denied the right to view and comment on this application for a permit, we are taking the matter to court. We will keep you updated.
Written by Michelle Sherrow