USDA Urged to Investigate: Screaming, Struggling Animals Mishandled During AHA Event

PETA Urges USDA to Hold Animal Exhibitor Accountable After Chaotic News Broadcast

For Immediate Release:
June 17, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

Los Angeles

The American Humane Association (AHA) has long been criticized—most vocally by PETA—for its cozy relationship with animal trainers and for allowing questionable treatment of animals on sets, as the death of horses on HBO’s doomed show Luck demonstrated. Now, AHA is under fire again: During a news broadcast on Wednesday, June 15, AHA CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert promoted her organization’s new “humane” standards for zoos while clutching a distressed, screaming spider monkey provided by notorious animal exhibitor Conservation Ambassadors, Inc. Handlers also dumped an endangered lemur onto a news anchor’s lap and walked away. The anchors passed the lemur back and forth as he struggled and tried to escape. In response, PETA sent a letter today asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate Conservation Ambassadors for forcing clearly distressed animals to be exhibited in apparent violation of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

AHA is primarily known for approving “No Animals Were Harmed” statements on movies—despite what PETA has described as horrific animal deaths and injuries—and even certifying Butterball turkeys as “humane,” even though the company routinely grinds up baby male turkeys alive and cuts off the ends of birds’ beaks.

“The distressed monkey who was screaming in the arms of the American Humane Association’s CEO illustrates that AHA’s stamp of approval on a film or zoo is bunk,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA is calling on federal authorities to hold Conservation Ambassadors, Inc., responsible for this shameful treatment of animals, which illustrates one of the many problems with exploiting animals for human entertainment.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—also noted in its complaint that the kinkajou brought into the studio appeared to be missing patches of hair on either side of his or her mouth and on the neck, which may be a sign of underlying veterinary issues or a symptom of stress.

Conservation Ambassadors, Inc., has a long history of AWA violations, including the mauling of a young boy by a tiger during an exhibit at a school. It was cited by the USDA for failing to administer adequate veterinary care to a kangaroo, who later died before receiving medical attention—and most recently, it was cited for keeping chinchillas in a cage so filthy that USDA inspectors noted that “[t]here were no clean areas in the enclosures where the animals could avoid exposure to fecal material.”

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