Feds Fine Wilstem Wildlife Park Over ‘Critical’ Welfare Violations, Cruel Killing

For Immediate Release:
March 8, 2022

David Perle 202-483-7382

Paoli, Ind. – The list of violations reads like something out of a Freddy Krueger movie: U.S. Department of Agriculture records just obtained by PETA show that the agency recently fined the notorious Wilstem Wildlife Park $8,000, including for dropping a llama into a hole and killing the animal by crushing his or her skull with an excavator bucket and for causing “unnecessary pain, discomfort and death” when workers attempting to recapture three escaped elands with a tranquilizer dart gun caused the panicked animals to scatter, one of whom broke her neck.

Other federal violations alleged in the fine include inadequate fencing that allowed a kangaroo to escape during a public feeding encounter, after which the animal remained on the lam for two days, and for having a hole in fencing big enough for a “dog-sized” animal to fit through.

“Roadside zoos like Wilstem Wildlife Park exist to exploit animals, and they’ll keep at it even when federal officials fine them for their wrongdoings, unless people stay away,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler. “PETA asks that the public shun this cruel roadside zoo, which doesn’t properly care for the suffering animals on its premises.”

The fine was prompted by a September 2020 inspection report that also included citations for failing to provide camels and goats with adequate shade and shelter, permitting a young child to climb the fencing and get face to face with camels without a staff member present, and failing to keep inventory records for multiple animals.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.


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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