Feds Alerted by PETA to Declawing of Endangered Cats—an Apparent Violation of Endangered Species Act
For Immediate Release:
July 21, 2014
David Perle 202-483-7382
Laughlin, Nev. – This morning, PETA sent a letter calling on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to investigate animal exhibitor Dirk Arthur—the magician performing at Harrah’s Laughlin, which is owned by Caesars Entertainment—for apparent violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As PETA notes in its letter, Arthur has been warned about and cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a slew of violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), including the painful declawing of two juvenile endangered tigers and a juvenile lion. The ESA prohibits harassing animals, including physically mistreating them and engaging in husbandry practices that fail to meet the minimal standards of the AWA—and the AWA has prohibited declawing big cats for nearly a decade.
“The Endangered Species Act prohibits harassing endangered animals—and by having these young tigers’ toes painfully amputated, that’s exactly what Dirk Arthur seems to have done,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on the Fish & Wildlife Service to hold this man accountable for the harm that he may have illegally inflicted on these animals.”
PETA has also asked the FWS to investigate the veterinarian who declawed the cats in Arthur’s possession. Declawing involves 10 separate painful amputations of the last joint of each toe, including the bones, cartilage, and claws. According to the USDA, declawing can cause “considerable pain and discomfort to the animal and may result in chronic health problems.” The American Veterinary Medical Association condemns the procedure.
PETA’s comments to the FWS are available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org.