Suffolk Officials Under Fire for Botched Investigation of Apparently Illegal Animal Labs

PETA Calls On Mayor to Investigate Why City Refused to Stop Animals From Being Shot, Stabbed in Violation of Law

For Immediate Release:
October 13, 2015

Contact:
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Suffolk, Va. – PETA is calling on Suffolk Mayor Linda Johnson to investigate Suffolk city officials’ inadequate investigation of and failure to stop deadly and archaic military trauma training exercises on animals late last month, which appear to violate a local zoning ordinance.

As PETA explains in a complaint sent to the mayor this week, military training contractor Assessment and Training Solutions Consulting Corporation (ATSCC) has apparently shot, stabbed, and killed pigs on the Suffolk property of company president John Janota for years, in violation of zoning ordinances governing the use of this “agricultural” plot. Most recently, five days prior to a September 28 course for the U.S. Marine Corps, PETA provided Suffolk officials with evidence that apparently illegal activity was scheduled. City inspectors joined PETA representatives outside of the property on the day of ATSCC’s apparent training. Despite witnessing vehicles and a livestock trailer entering the premises, hearing multiple gunshots coming from the property, and even admitting that they’ve long known about ATSCC’s apparently illegal activity, city officials not only failed to obtain a warrant to inspect the property but also refused even to question ATSCC personnel on the premises and took no action to prevent the deadly training.

“Shooting, cutting up, and killing animals for military trauma training is cruel, educationally inferior, and, in this case, also apparently illegal,” says PETA Director of Laboratory Investigations Justin Goodman. “PETA wants the city of Suffolk to stop turning a blind eye to the maiming of animals and end this cruelty.”

This isn’t the first time that Suffolk officials have failed to address ATSCC’s apparently illegal activities. In 2013, a PETA tip prompted a zoning inspector to meet with Janota’s neighbor, who corroborated PETA’s complaint by describing “pits full of dead animals” and classrooms on Janota’s property as well as military vehicles entering the property—but the inspector did not inspect the premises. In 2009, city officials responded to a PETA complaint by tipping Janota off to a planned inspection, which, according to a whistleblower, apparently allowed ATSCC to remove evidence and conceal the property’s use for medical training.

PETA’s letter to Mayor Johnson is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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“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