PETA Catches Feds Violating Endangered Species Act

In Lake County Tiger Case, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Caught Breaking the Very Law Agency Is Meant to Enforce

For Immediate Release:
August 6, 2013

Carney Anne Chester, Esq. 202-483-7382(PETA Foundation)
David Perle 202-483-7382

Grayslake, Ill. — PETA filed a lawsuit today in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) contending that the agency has illegally granted permits to Grayslake-based Hawthorn Corporation to export—and then re-import—15 endangered tigers to Canada, where Hawthorn is currently forcing them to perform in circuses. PETA maintains that the FWS violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA), because the ESA expressly forbids the export of any endangered animal unless it enhances the species’ survival in the wild.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service is rubber-stamping animal-export permit applications and ignoring the protections put in place for endangered species,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “Exporting endangered tigers in order to force them to perform in circuses suggests that these protected animals are nothing more than a sideshow attraction.”

PETA’s lawsuit also points out Hawthorn’s sordid history of federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations, which have cost the company $272,500 in penalties. Hawthorn’s past AWA violations include forcing tigers to live in cages barely bigger than their bodies for months on end, failing to provide tigers with adequate veterinary care, and forcing animals to eat moldy food. Hawthorn has had its federal exhibitor’s license suspended twice and was the subject of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) first-ever confiscation of an elephant after the animal was forced to stand in undiluted formaldehyde and sustained chemical burns, which weren’t treated. And Hawthorn is currently under formal investigation yet again by the USDA for violations of the AWA.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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