The Wilds Slapped With Long List of Federal Animal-Welfare Law Violations

Animals Gored to Death, Poor or Inadequate Veterinary Care Found at Zoo With Ties to Jack Hanna and Columbus Zoo; PETA Says Steer Clear

For Immediate Release:
April 12, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

Cumberland, OH – PETA has just obtained a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection report that documents numerous violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) at The Wilds—a Cumberland satellite location of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium that advertises “Jack Hanna tested and approved animal experiences” and lists the notorious animal wrangler and apologist for wild-animal captivity as a board member and “global ambassador.”

According to the USDA report, The Wilds failed to provide numerous animals, including three giraffes who died, with adequate veterinary care. The facility also placed incompatible animals together, leading to many needless deaths: A juvenile giraffe died after he was gored by a rhinoceros, one Tibetan goat died after severely fracturing a limb and another after being gored, and a Przewalski’s horse was killed after being gored by Père David’s deer. The USDA also cited The Wilds for failing to have a sufficient number of adequately trained employees to maintain even minimum animal-care standards.

“Animals are suffering and dying because The Wilds doesn’t provide them with even the most basic standard of care,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director Brittany Peet. “This litany of citations documenting suffering, and negligence is why PETA urges families to choose only animal-free outings and entertainment.”

The Wilds management admitted to being unable to observe all the animals on any given day—according to the USDA’s report, nearly two-thirds of the deaths recorded last year suggested a lack of adequate observation. The facility also failed to test pond water, even though previous tests had shown elevated levels of E. coli, and it failed to install permanent freshwater sources so that the animals wouldn’t be at risk of drinking tainted water.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—urges all families to stay away from any business that confines and displays animals for profit.

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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