Written by Michelle Kretzer
Benjamin Cloutier was just 24
years old when he was mauled to death by a frustrated captive bear. He was cleaning the animal's
cage as part of his job at Animals of Montana, a company that rents out wild
animals for photo shoots as well as film and television productions.
had asked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to
investigate because it appeared that the company's owner, Troy Hyde, had
allowed his employees to be in direct contact with the animals, in violation of
federal workplace-safety laws. Following PETA's request, OSHA found that Hyde had twice
violated the law. He had Cloutier clean the bear's cage without first
moving the animals to a holding pen, which directly resulted in the young man's
death, and he failed to report the attack promptly after it occurred. An
investigation by state officials uncovered more problems at Animals of Montana,
including numerous unreported escapes and an attack on an employee by a
mountain lion. The employee sustained a gash in his head that went all the way
to his skull, but Hyde reported it as a "scratch."
OSHA wants to see Hyde pay the maximum
penalty for a small
company, a $9,000 fine. It would be a small measure of justice for the man who
lost his life and the bear who was gunned down after the attack.
What You Can Do
If you have witnessed unsafe or inhumane conditions at a
live-animal attraction or photo opportunity, please let PETA know.
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 PETA
annrkist | cc by 2.0
was working as a
driving from one neglect case investigation to another, when I saw him: a large
dog, limping pitifully down the middle of a busy, four-lane street, with
traffic whizzing past him. I stopped my car and got out. The dog stumbled into
my looped slip leash, and when I scratched his ear, he sighed and leaned into
I carried this
thin, dirty fellow to my car. Some dogs stiffen in fear, but this big guy just
melted into my arms. He clearly had been a handsome boy at one point, but his
eyes and nose were now crusted as a result of an upper respiratory infection,
his coat was filthy and matted, and he had an odor that surely bothered him as
much as it did me.
rushed the dog to the animal shelter, where the veterinarian determined that he
was elderly, with enough health issues to merit charges for failure to provide
veterinary care if the person who neglected him could ever be found. Euthanasia was undoubtedly a mercy
for this poor old soul. A technician
gave him an injection, and he left this world.
this day, I find myself asking, "Who denied care to this sweet dog in his
senior years? Hadn't neighbors noticed his condition? Why didn't anyone stop to
save an old dog who was walking down the middle of a busy street?"
met hundreds of animals who have been saved from suffering and danger because a
kind person refused to just look the other way and keep going. Please, for the
sake of animals like this dog, report neglect and abuse immediately, and if you
see an animal in danger, always stop to help.
Written by Scott VanValkenburg, the PETA
Foundation's director of membership communications
& special projects
Written by Jeff Mackey
After someone with a sharp eye and a kind heart spotted a thin
to a small pen, the person contacted PETA's Emergency Response Team. We immediately got in touch with the local humane society, which was on the
case right away! The horse was rescued from her pitiful little mesh prison and
transported to a stable, where she can now walk
freely for perhaps the first time in months, maybe even years.
I wonder how many people passed by this horse every day
without giving her a second thought. Yet all that her happiness depended upon
was the intervention of one concerned passerby. Please, if you see an animal you
believe is being neglected or abused, be that one wonderful person who takes a few
minutes out of the day to make a crucial difference.
Not sure what to do when you suspect cruelty or neglect? PETA can help.
of chronic neglect of elephants held by Florida-based exhibitor Jorge Barreda, who
uses elephants for rides and rents them out to circuses like UniverSoul, PETA is calling
on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to confiscate the elephants and
relocate them to a sanctuary so that
they can receive the treatment that they urgently need. USDA inspection reports
dating back to April indicate that Barreda has repeatedly failed to provide
vital care for the elephants' feet, which can lead to serious, and even fatal, abscesses,
infections, osteomyelitis, and other problems.
Foot problems are
extremely serious—they are the number one cause of premature death in captive elephants in the U.S.,
who are forced to stand for long hours on hard surfaces instead of walking for
up to 30 miles a day as they would in the wild. Despite the necessity of foot
and other animal exhibitors often neglect this critical aspect of elephants'
Please avoid all circuses
that use elephants and other animals and urge your family and friends to do the
same. Click here
for a list of animal-free circuses.
After seeing an exhausted and utterly dispirited elephant being forced to give rides all day long at the Indiana State Fair, one visitor wrote us, stating, "[T]his elephant's plight absolutely breaks my heart. … [H]e looks old, tired, thin, and completely miserable. … The sadness in this animal's eyes brought me to tears." Another said, "The pain [in the elephant's eyes] was evident. … [M]y … daughter was reduced to crying so hard at witnessing this that our day was pretty well ruined." Clearly haunted by what she saw, our first tipster added, "I think this elephant is not only a slave, but he's just plain lonely in his misery. He is clearly so terribly heartbroken."
Life on the road is miserable for elephants who are forced to perform at fairs, carnivals, festivals, and circuses. In contrast, for elephants in the wild, each day is filled with traveling, socializing, exploring, swimming, mud-bathing, playing, and foraging. Elephants experience joy, sadness, and fear. Their level of self-awareness continues to amaze researchers worldwide, and it's obvious that this poor elephant who is being dragged around the fair circuit knows exactly what she's missing.
By the way, last year in Indiana, at least 15 children and one adult were injured when an elephant who was being used for rides became startled and stumbled, knocking over the stairway leading to the ride. Several years ago, an elephant grabbed a woman as she was dismounting from a ride and threw her against a tree three times. The woman was in a body brace for three months. And while carrying children on her back at a state fair, an elephant panicked, knocking down and then stepping on the handler. A 3-year-old girl was also injured after falling off the elephant. The list goes on.
Please contact Indiana State Fair officials and ask them to permanently do away with elephant rides.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
… With a $3,000 suspended fine and two years of probation from the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA)! It's the least that Sun Pet deserves, considering that PETA's undercover investigator took video footage of one of the animal dealer's employees—who has since been fired—placing hamsters in a bag and bashing it against a table in an attempt to kill them. The investigator also documented that other animals were being abusively handled and warehoused in conditions that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.
None of this appears to matter to PetSmart or PETCO, whose stores continue to sell animals supplied by Sun Pet despite findings by not only the GDA but also the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The GDA's April 22 inspection found rodents running loose, dead animals (including eight guinea pigs) in enclosures with live ones, food thrown into cages and on top of bedding, and rusty cages with sharp, dangerous edges, which Sun Pet was ordered to replace immediately (but didn't). According to the consent order, inspectors also found live rats climbing out of a trash can.
Eighteen days after the GDA inspection, the USDA—prompted by a PETA complaint—inspected Sun Pet and found the same jagged, rusty surfaces on the facility's chinchilla cages as well as severe crowding, inadequate lighting, accumulations of trash and rodent droppings, and deteriorated animal carcasses. The USDA also noted that in a repeat violation of federal law (which Sun Pet had been warned about in February 2009), the company had been buying animals from unlicensed vendors and selling them to pet stores such as PETCO and PetSmart.
PetSmart's execs apparently need a reading lesson, because in PetSmart's official response—sent to PETA before the GDA's investigation was officially closed—they claim that "the Georgia Department of Agriculture … conducted two thorough investigations since [PETA] issued [its] allegations. The first investigation resulted in one citation for a rusty chinchilla cage which was immediately replaced. The second investigation resulted in no violations." ("Immediately replaced"? Really? Then why did the USDA find the same dangerous cages almost three weeks later?) PETCO has not officially responded to PETA, but as of this week, it is still doing business with Sun Pet, according to its vice president of animal care and education, Marcie Whichard.
More on this soon. In the meantime, we can take "disciplinary action" against Sun Pet and other sleazy animal dealers by never buying mice, hamsters, rabbits, fish, birds, or any animal from a pet store or breeder and by steering others who are considering getting an animal away from pet stores and toward animal shelters.
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
In the new movie Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, which opens tomorrow, former Superman Brandon Routh plays a superhero once again. This time, his character is a "ninth-level vegan," which means that he has the power of telekinesis. As his character puts it, his power stems from the fact that his brain isn't "filled up with curds and whey." (I think I must be only a sixth-level vegan because my only superpower is the ability to make vegan chocolate disappear.)
In real life, Routh has another superpower—the ability to make a killer vegan breakfast. "I love pancakes," Routh told Maxim magazine. "I think the vegan ones I make are as good [as] or better than the ones with eggs, butter, and milk."
We're going to be sure to hit Brandon up for his recipe, but in the meantime, you can give these a try.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Last week, PETA's Community Animal Project (CAP) received a call for help from an indigent man whom we had already provided with a doghouse and spay surgery for his own dog. The man had tried, without success, to nurse back to health two sickly dogs whom he had found by the side of the road (they had likely been abandoned). A CAP fieldworker rushed out to check on the animals and found that they were horribly emaciated (with protruding hips and spines), lethargic, dehydrated, and covered with hundreds of ticks. We attempted to give both dogs a good meal, but one dog was too weak and sick to even eat so we loaded both dogs into a cool, air-conditioned vehicle and gave them a comfortable bed.
When these dogs were brought back to PETA headquarters, both were found to be severely anemic and the male could barely hold himself up without assistance. Their horrible health problems were probably the reason why they were abandoned in the first place.
PETA wouldn't have known about these dogs if the man who found them hadn't called, and local authorities might not know about animals in distress in our own neighborhoods unless we inform them. So, for the love of dogs, let's be watchdogs for animals in our community and alert police and animal control officials the minute we know or suspect that an animal is suffering.
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
On an average day, PETA's Cruelty Investigations Department (CID) receives dozens of phone calls from caring individuals reporting cases of animal abuse. When an animal is in trouble, our caseworkers fly into action. Able to leap great obstacles for a single hound, they help fight injustice, collar bad guys, and rescue animals in distress. Seriously. In an average week, CID caseworkers process more than 300 reports of cruelty. Here are just a few of the many animals they recently helped:
These cases are a reminder of why it's vital to report cruelty to animals immediately. PETA's CID needs your help to prevent other animals from meeting a similar fate. Keep your eyes open for animals in need, be a nosy neighbor, trust your instincts, and always alert police or animal control officials right away if you know or suspect that animals are being abused or neglected.
Written by Amy Skylark Elizabeth
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.
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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.