Group Contends Government Has Failed to Enforce Animal Welfare Act, Leaving Birds in Roadside Zoos Unprotected
For Immediate Release:
June 6, 2013
David Perle 202-483-7382
Mooresville, N.C. — PETA has filed a lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its failure to protect birds covered by the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), including those at Mooresville’s Lazy 5 Ranch. Although birds used by exhibitors such as Lazy 5 have been covered by the AWA since 2002, the USDA—which is charged with enforcing the statute—has unequivocally stated that “birds are not being regulated by Animal Care” and has taken no action in response to complaints regarding exhibited birds found suffering from injuries and illness, filthy enclosures, and contaminated water, among other violations.
In the case of Lazy 5, PETA wrote to the USDA on January 10, 2013, regarding numerous bird-related problems, including a serious injury to a duck, likely after being hit by a car (video available here); pigeon enclosures containing a buildup of waste, contaminated water, and filthy food containers; and a duck enclosure that contain a murky brown pond but no other water sources. The USDA visited Lazy 5 on January 23 but wrote in a memo that birds are “not currently regulated and inspected.”
“The USDA has waved aside egregious neglect of and cruelty to birds, even though the agency has a legal mandate to protect these animals under the federal Animal Welfare Act,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “This regulatory failure is one reason why PETA urges everyone to stay away from roadside zoos, where animals are subject to abuse and neglect.”
Other facilities implicated in PETA’s lawsuit include roadside zoos in Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.