Groupon’s False and Deceptive Claims Warrant FTC Action, PETA Says

Animals Pay Price When Online Discounter Sells Cheap Tickets to Abusive Zoos and Circuses

For Immediate Release:
September 24, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382


Although Groupon has stated publicly that the zoos and circuses it promotes must have clean U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) records for at least two years prior to being promoted by the company, USDA inspection reports show that nearly all the animal exhibitors that Groupon features, including The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park (G.W. Exotics) in Oklahoma, have been cited numerous times for violating the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) during those previous two years. PETA filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today to supplement a citizen complaint that the group filed last May asking the FTC to investigate Groupon’s deceptive claims.

“Groupon still offers discounted tickets to abusive animal exhibitors such as G.W. Exotics, even though this sleazy roadside zoo is currently the target of at least two federal investigations, including for the deaths of 23 tiger cubs,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “Not only are Groupon’s reassurances about its standards meaningless, they’re also downright false, and the FTC cannot allow the company to dupe buyers.”

In addition to being under investigation, G.W. Exotics was recently cited for leaving a bear to bleed in a dirt-floor cage for two weeks after the animal was allegedly mauled by another bear, according to a USDA report. After the bear’s sutures broke, G.W. Exotics staff apparently attempted to stitch up the bear’s 4- to 8-inch wound, rather than calling on a veterinarian to treat the animal, and the suffering bear was ultimately euthanized. Groupon has also recently promoted six other animal exhibitors, all of which were cited for numerous AWA violations in the two years preceding their offers.

With all the humane options to choose from, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—has appealed to Groupon to stop supporting abusive zoos and cruel animal circuses.

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