Zoo Lands in Hot Water After PETA Complaint About Animal Suffering

Published by Michelle Kretzer.

Hovatter’s Wildlife Zoo, a miserable roadside zoo in Kingwood, West Virginia, has been on PETA’s radar for years, and the facility has a long, documented history of failing to meet the most minimal requirements of the Animal Welfare Act. A PETA complaint has now led the U.S. Department of Agriculture to slap Hovatter’s with numerous citations.

One alpaca held at the zoo had overgrown teeth that interfered with eating. There is no record of Hovatter’s ever contacting a veterinarian about the dental condition, which can lead to weight loss and unnecessary suffering.

Alpaca with overgrown teeth

Chimpanzees at the zoo lacked adequate environmental enrichment items needed to prevent stress and behavioral abnormalities. PETA’s complaint also included evidence that the chimpanzees suffered from hair loss and that one chimpanzee repeatedly sucked on his hand for more than 30 minutes, likely a sign of profound deprivation:

Hovatter’s was also cited for feeding 7-week-old lion cubs a diet composed mostly of formula, which should kept to a minimum by that age and can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

As the violations of federal animal protection laws by this decrepit, abusive roadside zoo pile up, PETA urges anyone who truly cares about animals to refuse to buy a ticket.

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“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