PETA Statement: Feds Crack Down on Monterey Zoo Operator

For Immediate Release:
June 30, 2022

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Salinas, Calif. – Charlie Sammut, president of Monterey Zoo—part of Vision Quest Ranch—has just been indicted on two counts of wildlife trafficking by a federal grand jury in South Carolina related to the alleged trafficking of endangered red ruffed lemurs alongside Tiger King villain Bhagavan “Doc” Antle. The indictment makes it clear that a conviction would allow the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to find new homes for the animals involved.

Below, is a statement from PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Welfare Debbie Metzler:

PETA has raised alarm bells for years about the Monterey Zoo, where three elephants died under questionable circumstances, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) covered up apparent veterinary care failures, and a worker beat an elephant used for photo ops. Kudos to the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for doing what the USDA has refused to do: crack down on the Monterey Zoo and put animal exploiters on notice that there are consequences for treating vulnerable animals like merchandise.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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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