PETA Lawsuit Takes On License Renewals of Facilities That Violate Animal-Welfare Laws
For Immediate Release:
August 26, 2015
David Perle 202-483-7382
Brown City, Mich. – PETA filed a lawsuit this morning in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that challenges its current policy of automatically renewing federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) licenses, even when the agency knows that the applicants are in violation of the AWA—such as Summer Wind Farms Sanctuary in Brown City.
The AWA, which the USDA is charged with administering, prohibits licensing a facility that is not operating in compliance with the act. Yet Summer Wind Farms was cited 98 times in 2014 and got its license renewed in December 2014. Summer Wind Farms has been repeatedly cited for not having enough staff, not creating a training program for them, keeping animals in filthy enclosures surrounded by their own waste, and denying animals clean water to drink, warm bedding in the winter, and adequate veterinary care, including for a tiger who was so weak that he couldn’t stand—his hind feet were rubbed raw from dragging them behind him.
“The USDA hands out license renewals like Halloween candy to exhibitors who leave caged animals to suffer without veterinary care when they need it,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling on the government to stop rubber-stamping the applications of businesses that abuse animals and break the law.”
Summer Wind Farms’ license was suspended for three months in 2012, when the facility paid a $500 penalty and agreed not to acquire any more animals for two years. PETA’s lawsuit argues that applicants cannot simultaneously violate the AWA and be in compliance with it—so the USDA’s rubber-stamping policy is illegal.
Other facilities implicated in PETA’s lawsuit include exhibitors in Alabama, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.