Feds Slapped With Lawsuit for Licensing Law-Breaking ‘Monroe Zoo’

PETA Points Out That Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo Did Not Comply With Animal-Welfare Law When License Was Issued

For Immediate Release:
April 30, 2015

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Monroe, La. – This morning, PETA filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to issue a license to the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo (aka the “Monroe Zoo”) despite the facility’s repeated violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

In the lawsuit, PETA notes that a facility is required to demonstrate compliance with the AWA in order to receive an exhibitor’s license. But just two weeks after the Monroe Zoo’s license was issued, PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders visited the facility and found a gibbon—a highly intelligent, social primate—confined to a barren, solitary enclosure, in violation of the AWA, among many other issues that had landed the facility in hot water in the past, including rotting fences and rusted enclosures as well as a dangerous unattended petting zoo. After issuing the license, the USDA cited the Monroe Zoo for keeping the gibbon in isolation as well as for locking two other gibbons outside with no shelter from the pouring rain.

“By licensing the Monroe Zoo despite its flagrant violations of the Animal Welfare Act, federal authorities have given a pass to the abuse of animals imprisoned there,” says Winders. “For the safety of all animals involved, PETA is calling on the authorities to follow the law and not issue licenses to chronic violators.”

PETA also notes that the Monroe Zoo continued to exhibit animals without a license for four months—an AWA violation that should alone disqualify the facility from holding a license. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—also helped facilitate the release of a black bear, who had suffered at the zoo in a windowless enclosure for nearly four years until he was transferred to a Colorado sanctuary in 2014.

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“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