PETA Statement: Virginia Safari Park Faces Federal Complaint for Alleged Animal-Welfare Violations

For Immediate Release:
June 22, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet has released a statement in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s complaint against Virginia Safari Park and its owners, Eric and Meghan Mogensen:

It should come as no surprise that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) needed 18 pages to document the abuses perpetuated at the three roadside zoos operated by Eric Mogensen, whose daughter Meghan was already convicted for drowning a wallaby named Parmesan in a bucket of water and then dumping his body in the trash. Meghan and her father then falsified a report claiming that they had humanely euthanized him, in a pattern of cruelty and deceit that they’ve continued at Virginia Safari Park. The USDA learned that a spider monkey named Jethro was turned over to the park after he languished for six days in subfreezing temperatures at another of Mogensen’s roadside zoos, where he suffered from fatal frostbite and visible lesions without care from any veterinarian for nearly two weeks. The way to protect animals from roadside zoos is clear—steer families elsewhere.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” More information about our campaign is available at

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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