Do Animals Face Neglect at Wilson’s Wild Animal Park?

PETA Calls On Feds and State Officials to Investigate Animals in Apparent Need of Veterinary Care and Relief From Excessive Heat at Roadside Zoo

For Immediate Release:
May 25, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Winchester, Va.

Armed with damning eyewitness video footage and photographs, PETA sent complaints this morning requesting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries inspect apparent animal suffering at Wilson’s Wild Animal Park in Winchester.

In the letters, PETA outlines a litany of apparent animal-welfare violations, including bears and deer panting in 89-degree heat with no means of cooling off. A goat with a nasal discharge and an alpaca with overgrown nails—which can lead to foot and joint problems—appeared to be in need of care. Camels and bears were displayed in filthy enclosures, and a bear was seen eating water- and urine-soaked food that had been dumped in a pile on the floor of the cramped concrete bear enclosure.

Bears, lynxes, and a lion cub were confined exclusively on concrete—which can cause pressure sores, arthritis, and foot injuries—and a bear and a lynx paced repeatedly inside the small, barren cages, a sign of psychological distress. The bear repeatedly made jaw-popping vocalizations, indicating fear or agitation. Birds were spotted with apparent injuries and missing feathers.

“At the very least, bears and lynxes need space to roam, clean food and drinking water, and relief from the scorching summer heat,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling on state and federal authorities to investigate Wilson’s Wild Animal Park and ensure that all the animals there get the care that they need.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that Wilson’s Wild Animal Park has been repeatedly cited by the USDA for failing to meet the minimum requirements of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including for inadequate caging for dangerous animals, a lack of a veterinary-care program, and failing to provide primates with adequate enrichment.

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