Summer Wind Farms Slapped With Formal Federal Complaint

Notorious Roadside Zoo at the Center of PETA Lawsuit Now Under Fire for Nearly 90 Alleged Violations of the Animal Welfare Act

For Immediate Release:
January 13, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

Brown City, Mich. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has filed a formal complaint against the notorious Summer Wind Farms Sanctuary, a roadside zoo with a long history of abuse and neglect. The 24-page complaint includes nearly 90 allegations of willful violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) documented between November 2012 and October 2015. Among the allegations are reports that the facility repeatedly failed to provide animals with basic necessities such as clean water, protection from the weather, clean enclosures, adequate veterinary care, and edible food. This complaint is the first step in a disciplinary process that could result in a fine of up to $10,000 per violation or a license suspension or revocation.

“As PETA and USDA inspectors have documented again and again, systemic abuse and neglect are disturbingly routine at Summer Wind Farms,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director Brittany Peet. “Instead of serving up another slap on the wrist, it’s time for authorities to revoke this hellhole’s license and shut it down for good.”

The USDA last took action against Summer Wind Farms in 2012, suspending the facility’s license for three months and fining it $500—a move that proved not enough to inspire it to clean up its act. Summer Wind Farms racked up 49 citations for AWA violations last year and 98 in 2014, including, among many other issues, a lack of appropriate staff, keeping animals in filthy enclosures, and denying animals clean water and adequate veterinary care. Still, its license was once again renewed on December 31, 2015, and PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—has filed a lawsuit against the USDA for keeping dangerous facilities like Summer Wind Farms in business with its automatic-renewal scheme, despite extensive and repeated violations of the AWA.

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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