Court to Hear Case Against Feds’ ‘Miserable Failure’ to Protect Birds

PETA's Appeal Includes Instances of Government's 13-Year Failure to Enforce the Animal Welfare Act

For Immediate Release:
May 12, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

Washington – May 13 marks 13 years since Congress amended the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to include birds—but as PETA will point out in court on May 14, in all that time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has taken no enforcement action whatsoever in response to complaints of birds suffering in U.S. facilities.

Cases include an ostrich who was reportedly stomped to death during an ostrich race, a duck at SeaWorld San Diego whose beak was broken or torn off, and birds at multiple roadside zoos who were left in pain from untreated illnesses and injuries, including bloody wounds, or who were even found dead in cages. Examples of cases, along with photographic evidence, are shown on PETA’s blog.

“Thirteen years of government inaction has left birds wounded, dying, and dead in roadside zoos across the U.S.,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “PETA’s lawsuit challenges the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s miserable failure to help animals—and its refusal to enforce our country’s laws.”

Since the AWA was extended to birds, the USDA has neither established bird-specific welfare standards nor applied existing baseline welfare standards for all warm-blooded species to birds.

The arguments will be heard at 9:30 a.m. on May 14 in Courtroom 31 at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 333 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C.

For more information, please visit PETA’s blog.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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