PETA Works to Block Notorious Circus Exhibitor’s Government License Renewal

Zachary Garden's History of Violating Animal-Protection Laws, Whistleblowers' Reports of Animal Beatings Should Mean He's out of Business

For Immediate Release:
February 27, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Sarasota, Fla. – This morning, PETA sent a formal request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) asking the agency to deny the renewal of Sarasota-based animal abuser Zachary Garden’s exhibitor’s license. In the request, PETA points to extensive evidence of his failure to comply with the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), including USDA citations for repeatedly failing to provide animals with adequate veterinary care, among other issues. The group also refers to eyewitnesses’ reports that Garden, who works as a general manager for and supplies animals to the Piccadilly Circus, has beaten animals.

“The Animal Welfare Act requires that all license applicants demonstrate compliance with its standards, so the USDA cannot legally rubber-stamp license renewals for exhibitors, such as Zachary Garden, who flagrantly disregard those standards,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on authorities to hold Garden accountable for reportedly beating animals and for denying them veterinary care—and calling on kind families to stay far away from circuses that still force animals to perform.”

According to eyewitnesses, while traveling with the Piccadilly Circus in 2013, Garden beat a zebra named Ziggy, punched an elephant and then hit her with a shovel several times while she screamed, and routinely denied animals food and water as a form of “training.” He racked up 17 violations of the AWA last year, including for failing to provide a sheep, who was suffering from a painful broken leg, with veterinary care. Other past USDA actions against Garden include an official warning over the July 2012 death of a zebra who got caught in another zebra’s halter when the animals should have been wearing safer halters.

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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