USDA Rubber-Stamped Roadside Zoo's Renewal Application Despite Dozens of Federal Animal Welfare Act Violations
For Immediate Release:
May 15, 2018
David Perle 202-483-7382
Yuma, Ariz. – PETA filed a lawsuit this morning against U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue that challenges his agency’s automatic renewal of federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) licenses, even when it knew that the applicants—such as The Camel Farm in Yuma—were in violation of the act.
The AWA prohibits licensing a facility that can’t demonstrate that it’s operating in accordance with the act, and last summer, the USDA announced that it would consider revamping its AWA licensing practices so that facilities with a history of noncompliance aren’t handed renewals year after year, which violates the law. However, in the year before the USDA renewed The Camel Farm’s license, the facility was cited for 33 violations of the AWA. During almost every inspection, it was cited for failing to supply veterinary care to animals, including a goat who hasn’t been putting weight on his right front leg for over a year. When one coatimundi’s eye was protruding and extremely swollen, instead of seeking veterinary care, the facility attempted to pop the animal’s eye back in on its own.
“PETA is calling on Secretary Perdue to stop violating the law by letting the USDA sign off on license renewals when the agency knows that applicants are mistreating animals and consistently out of compliance with federal law,” says PETA Foundation Vice President of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “The government shouldn’t hand out licenses to facilities that leave ailing animals to suffer without veterinary care for months or even years.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that shortly after renewing The Camel Farm’s AWA license, the USDA cited it for 11 violations of the act, eight of which were repeat violations for issues that had been noted by inspectors before the license was renewed, including failing to give veterinary care to a sheep who so thin that the animal’s bones protruded and failing to provide a mother camel and her nursing baby with water. The mother drank for “approximately 8 minutes” after finally being given water.
Other facilities implicated in PETA’s lawsuit include roadside zoos in Texas, Colorado, Maryland, North Carolina, and Ohio.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.