New Reports Expose Severe Suffering at Sham Sanctuary

USDA Finds Dirty Water, Rotting Food, Chronic Diarrhea, and More at Summer Wind Farms After PETA Complaint

For Immediate Release:
August 24, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Brown City, Mich.

PETA has obtained recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection reports showing that Summer Wind Farms Sanctuary—a roadside zoo in Brown City—has been cited for more than 40 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) this year. The citations include 13 in May alone stemming from a USDA inspection following a PETA complaint detailing the chronic neglect documented at the facility by a volunteer. The reports raise serious concerns about the welfare of the five animals—two bears, two macaque monkeys, and a coyote—the roadside zoo negotiated with the government to keep as part of a settlement, which includes the revocation of the facility’s exhibitor license at the end of September.

The reports show that the two bears, Buffy and Tiny Princess, suffer from chronic diarrhea. In addition, they were provided with only dirty and discolored drinking water, and one bear had grayish-green discharge from an abscess on her nose for weeks, which the zoo’s CEO, Charles Vanneste, tried to pass off as “left over ground bacon.” Vanneste also falsely described the diarrhea as “very common in bears” and defended the lack of clean water in another bear enclosure by saying that “beggars can’t be choosers.” The facility was also cited for confining two highly social macaques alone without providing them with adequate enrichment, regularly feeding one macaque—who was visibly underweight—only half the food that he needs, and leaving a rotting animal hide in the coyote’s enclosure.

“These horrifying inspection reports reveal an operation that ran on cruelty and indifference,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA welcomes the closure of Summer Wind Farms and is pushing for all the animals to be sent to reputable sanctuaries.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that two tigers were moved to a true sanctuary following PETA’s complaint and that both are now receiving adequate veterinary care.

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