Photo of Obese Mountain Lion Prompts Complaint Against Roswell Roadside Zoo

PETA Calls on Feds to Evaluate the Health, Diet, and Opportunities for Exercise of Animals Held in Concrete Pits

For Immediate Release:
January 9, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Roswell, N.M. – Today, PETA sent a complaint requesting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture investigate Spring River Park & Zoo, which is operated by the city of Roswell and recently posted a photo to Facebook of what appears to be an obese mountain lion held in a small concrete pit.

In the letter, PETA notes that obesity in captive animals is typically an indication of poor diet and a lack of opportunity to exercise and that the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) requires that captive animals be given healthy, species-appropriate food as well as adequate space in which to engage in species-specific behavior. The tiny pit, made of concrete—which can cause pressure sores and arthritis, among other debilitating health conditions—likely prevents both mountain lions at the roadside zoo from engaging in sufficient exercise, another potential violation of the AWA.

“At bare minimum, mountain lions need space to roam and climb and food to eat that keeps them healthy,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling for an inspection of veterinary records, food quality, and the concrete pits at Spring River Park & Zoo and wants authorities to intervene in these animals’ behalf.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—points out that the mountain lions and bears, who are also displayed on concrete at the facility, have repeatedly been observed engaging in repetitive pacing behavior, an indication of severe mental distress and inadequate space.

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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