Written by Michelle Kretzer
As an organization
that celebrates education, the Smithsonian Institution should have been
To drum up
donations for the Smithsonian's
National Zoo, the organization threw
a fundraising party complete with wild animals whom partygoers were allowed to touch, hold, and take
pictures with. The cheetah, wallaby,
penguin, armadillo, and baby foxes were from the Columbus Zoo, which—catch this—rents the animals out for fundraisers
and other events. The National Zoo's mission is to demonstrate leadership in animal care and
to teach and inspire people to protect wildlife. It certainly fell short.
We have written to
the National Zoo and pointed out that wild animals naturally shun contact with
humans and become stressed and panicked when they are transported, thrust into
the midst of a loud party, and handled by strangers.
We also filed a
complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture because the cheetah with whom
people were snapping photos is 3 years old—much older than the age restriction of
3 months to which the Animal Welfare Act limits
dangerous big cats who are allowed to have
contact with the public.
If the Smithsonian
wants to live up to its slogan, "Seriously Amazing," it
needs to protect animals instead of using them as collection plates.
Written by Jeff Mackey
Update: Prompted by PETA's complaint about a child who
was bitten by a dolphin at SeaWorld, the USDA conducted an investigation and
cited the marine park for several violations of the Animal Welfare Act,
including the use of expired surgical materials, some almost a decade old. "The
use of expired medications and materials … is not an appropriate method to
treat injuries, or to prevent, control, & diagnose diseases," the
report noted. The USDA also documented that a dolphin tank and the areas
surrounding the orca performance tank were in disrepair, including containing cracked
and crumbling concrete and rusty beams that could pose a threat to the health
and safety of both the animals and workers. The USDA pointed out that the unsafe
conditions "might create a health risk if these pieces of concrete fall
off into the pool and get ingested, or if they become abrasive" and that they
"do not facilitate cleaning and disinfection."
Originally posted on December 3rd, 2012:
Following the release of video footage showing a dolphin biting the hand of a young girl at SeaWorld Orlando, PETA submitted a complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requesting an investigation to determine whether the incident stemmed from Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations.
The video shows 8-year-old Jillian Thomas feeding fish to the dolphin as part of the Dolphin Cove attraction at the park. When she raises up the paper carton used to hold the fish, the dolphin surges up to grab it, biting Jillian's hand in the process. The girl sustained puncture wounds to her hand, and the dolphin may have ingested the entire paper carton.
AWA regulations require that animal attractions have "sufficient distance and/or barriers between the animal and the general viewing public so as to assure the safety of animals and the public." PETA has also asked the USDA to ensure that if the dolphin did ingest the carton, the animal receive proper veterinary care, per AWA requirements.
A similar incident occurred in 2006, when a dolphin's mouth had to be pried open to free a 7-year-old boy's hand. It was the second time in three weeks that a child had been bitten at the attraction, but SeaWorld refused to change anything.
These episodes provide further reminders (as if more were needed) of how little SeaWorld is concerned with safety in its parks—except, of course, for the protection of its ticket sales. Not only has its unwillingness to take necessary precautions caused children to be harmed, it's also resulted in severe injuries and even the deaths of its trainer and the animals it holds captive.
Even if SeaWorld implemented every safety procedure possible, though, life in captivity would still be miserable for the dolphins, orcas, and other animals imprisoned in its parks. Deprived of their families, social lives, and freedom of movement, these smart, sensitive beings grow increasingly frustrated, contributing to the risk for sudden, violent behavior.
Unlike SeaWorld, young Jillian is showing compassion—according to an Associated Press article, she prayed for the dolphin who bit her and hopes the animal "didn't get sick from eating the paper carton."
Teach kids to be kind: Please don't ever take your family to SeaWorld or any other attraction that holds animals captive in cages or tanks.
We're happy to report a favorable development in this case:
A court has denied a motion by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to
dismiss the lawsuit brought against the agency by PETA, the Animal Legal
Defense Fund (ALDF), and two Fayetteville-area residents seeking to overturn
the USDA's renewal of Jambbas Ranch Tours' license to continue to operate the
wretched roadside zoo that has racked up dozens of violations of the federal
Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
The ruling comes in the wake of the recent high-profile rescue of Ben the bear, who now resides in a spacious habitat at a sanctuary in
California, thanks to the ruling in the earlier lawsuit mentioned below.
PETA's challenge to the licenses will move forward, but the
animals at Jambbas have no time to lose—please urge USDA officials to revoke Jambbas' license
immediately and offer these animals the chance to live out their lives with the kind of
comfort and dignity that Ben now enjoys.
Originally posted on April 19th, 2012:
of Cumberland County, North Carolina, who are sickened by Jambbas Ranch Tours' pervasive neglect and abuse of animals have joined PETA and the Animal Legal
Defense Fund in suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) over its renewal
of Jambbas' license despite chronic violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
AWA allows an animal exhibitor or dealer to have his or her license renewed only
if the person's business operates in accordance with AWA regulations. But the
USDA has repeatedly renewed Jambbas' license despite the fact that every single inspection of the roadside
zoo between October 2006 and January 2012 resulted in citations for AWA violations
including the following:
is the second pending lawsuit involving Jambbas Ranch. The other suit seeks to
have an abused bear named
Ben removed from Jambbas and relocated to a sanctuary where PETA has made arrangements
for him to live. In this sad video, Ben paces in his barren cage, bites the
chain-link fencing, pushes against it, and tries to reach under it—behavior a
bear expert has identified as a cry for help:
asking the USDA not to renew Jambbas' license, PETA also pointed out several
violations of the AWA that relate to Ben, including a lack of adequate space,
which is likely causing his repetitive, abnormal behavior.
is clearly not qualified to possess an AWA license. We will keep you updated as
the lawsuit progresses.
Written by Alisa Mullins
PETA and animals have lost a great friend. Ravi Shankar, the late sitar maestro, Beatles collaborator, and honorary patron of PETA India, frequently
spoke up to help end animal suffering.
Together with his daughter Anoushka, Ravi Shankar appeared in print and TV ads promoting stronger laws protecting animals.
Just a few of his many efforts in behalf of animals include
appealing to the Indian government to strengthen laws protecting
animals, which he continued to push for all his life. He participated in a PETA India news conference
to support a lawsuit brought before the Indian Supreme Court accusing the
central government, each state government, and the Animal Welfare Board of
India of failing to enforce laws that are supposed to protect animals abused in
the leather and meat
industries. He also wrote
to fast-food chain KFC urging the company to address the severe cruelty to the chickens killed for its
To honor Ravi's memory, PETA India hopes the government
will act today to pass the draft Animal Welfare Act 2011 and that each person who feels his loss will commemorate his compassion for
animals by doing just one kind thing today—be it offering food to a hungry stray
dog or writing to the
Ministry of Environment and Forests and asking it to strengthen India's animal
Ravi worked with PETA and PETA India to bring harmony
into animals' lives. He will always be remembered for his music and for his
compassion for animals. We send his family our condolences.
After hearing from PETA, the city of
Corona, California, ordered the Ramos Bros. Circus to halt its illegal display
of exotic animals immediately.
Apex Feline|cc by 2.0
PETA received several calls from
members telling us that Ramos Bros. was displaying exotic animals,
including zebras and camels, which is illegal in Corona. We promptly contacted
the city, which sent an inspector to the circus. After the inspector
confirmed that Ramos Bros. was illegally displaying exotic animals, the city
ordered the circus to remove the animals or be shut down, noting that Ramos
Bros. had previously been informed of the prohibition on displaying exotic
The U.S. Department of Agriculture
has repeatedly cited Ramos Bros. for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and
numerous citizens have called PETA to report disturbing abuse that they
witnessed, including observing a large number of scars on animals' bodies and
seeing animals confined to cramped, filthy enclosures with no access to water
This victory sends a strong message
to cruel circuses that abuse won't be tolerated. Join PETA's Action Team today to help enact a similar ban and work to help animals
in your community.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
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.