Feds Need to Cite Exhibitor for Bear Biting Incident at Washington University

Exhibitor's Record of Violations of Federal Law Prompts Appeal to End Inhumane and Dangerous Petting Zoo Visits

For Immediate Release:
May 5, 2014

David Perle 202-483-2783

St. Louis – On the heels of an incident in which an 8-week-old bear cub used in a petting zoo at the St. Louis campus of Washington University bit at least 14 students—with reports indicating that authorities narrowly called off plans to euthanize the bear—PETA sent a formal complaint today to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) asking the agency to cite Cindy Farmer, who does business as Cindy’s Zoo, for endangering both the bear cub and the public by allowing public handling of the animal in apparent violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act. PETA has also asked the university to stop hosting the irresponsible petting zoo.

Farmer has a history of AWA violations, including confining animals to enclosures so filthy that they could only lie down amid feces. Just last year, the USDA issued Farmer an official warning for expired vaccines that could have become contaminated and harmed animals—or been ineffective. Other citations include enclosures crawling with maggots, confining 19 animals to a room with a temperature of over 90 degrees and with a “prominent odor of ammonia and feces,” filthy water, and a distressed goat who was stuck on top of a feeder with her head and body suspended inside an empty wire basket.

Animals in petting zoos live in perpetual states of confinement and stress. They often become despondent and exhibit unnatural behavior, including pacing, rocking, swaying, bar-biting, and self-mutilation. Withholding food and water to avoid elimination is routine. These animals can also transmit numerous diseases to humans, including rabies, salmonellosis, sarcoptic mange, and ringworm.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.


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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