PETA Sues USDA for Years of Bird Neglect

Published by Michelle Kretzer.

PETA is demanding that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) start being more “bird-brained”—birds are highly intelligent—and actually do its job to protect these animals.

In 2004, the USDA officially recognized that captive birds were protected by the federal Animal Welfare Act. But since then, the agency has failed to release regulatory standards for the humane care of birds, and it has responded to numerous complaints filed by PETA regarding the abuse and neglect of birds by saying that birds are not currently regulated and inspected. So we’ve filed a lawsuit against the USDA for turning a blind eye to welfare of birds. Here are just a few of the recent instances where the USDA has failed to afford birds the protections they’re entitled to: 

A visitor to the Lazy 5 Ranch roadside zoo in Mooresville, North Carolina, reported and videotaped an injured duck, who had likely been struck by a car and who flailing on the ground without anyone attending to her. The concerned visitor also reported and documented contaminated drinking water and bird enclosures that were filled with excrement. 

A PETA investigation of farmed-animal exhibitor Linvilla Orchards revealed that several birds were suffering from apparently untreated injuries, sores, and severe feather loss. The investigator also found dead chickens inside enclosures with live birds.

At the East Maui Animal Refuge in Haiku, Hawaii, a PETA investigation found birds with bacterial infections, birds with broken wings, and a blind owl who was confined to a tiny travel crate and whose feet were swollen and blistered—symptoms of bumblefoot, which is an excruciatingly painful and debilitating condition.

PETA reported the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, New Jersey, to the USDA after more than 500 parakeets died from starvation or parasitic infestations in a two-year period. A penguin also died after being featherless for two years.

PETA, local law enforcement, and other agencies have often had to step in and try to help birds when the USDA has refused to act. While we concentrate on getting the USDA to fulfill its duty, please report any cases of bird abuse and neglect that you witness to PETA.

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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