Archive for the ‘Animal Legal Defense Fund’ Tag

Petting Zoo Accused Of Slaughtering Endangered Gray Wolves For Fur   6 comments

December 10, 2015

An animal advocacy group says it will sue Fur-Ever Wild if it doesn’t stop killing the wolves.

An animal advocacy group is threatening to sue a Minnesota wildlife farm and petting zoo that it claims is slaughtering gray wolves for their fur.

Fur-Ever Wild, in the city of Lakeville, allows visitors to pet gray wolf pups. But the Animal Legal Defense Fund alleges that the farm kills and skins the wolves to sell their pelts. Gray wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act, which means it is illegal to kill them.

“We hope Fur-Ever Wild will agree to cease its wolf-killing operation in the next 60 days but, if not, we intend to sue to assure the law is enforced,” ALDF executive director Stephen Wells said in a statement last week.

The group will seek “a court order or settlement agreement that ensures that none of the wolves at Fur-Ever Wild will be killed for their pelts,” staff attorney Christopher Berry told The Huffington Post.

In a civil court deposition in 2012, Fur-Ever Wild owner Terri Petter said that most of her animals are raised for fur. When asked whether she killed animals for the fur or waited for them to die naturally, she responded, “It depends on the fur market.”

In that deposition, Petter specifically mentioned pelting wolves, saying she had just pelted two and that “there will be 25 [pelted] within the next two weeks.” She also discussed breeding wolves for larger size, which would allow her to pelt them within a year, instead of keeping them for two years.

However, Petter told The Associated Press in May that she only uses animals for fur pelts if they die naturally.

“It’s not that all the animals come in and are skinned,” she said. “That’s just ludicrous.”

Petter did not respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post this week, and told TakePart.com she was not commenting on the ALDF case because someone had burned down one of her facility’s buildings. (She did not elaborate on whether she believed the arson was related to the advocacy group’s allegations.)

The ALDF is pointing to the annual game farm activity reports that Petter filed to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as evidence that Fur-Ever Wild has been slaughtering wolves more recently than 2012. In her report for the 2012-2013 year, Petter notes that she started with 31 wolves, and that 33 wolves were born and 24 died during the year. Six wolves were also sold that year, bringing her number at the end of the year to 34.

In the 2013-2014 report, filed this past February, Petter states that her facility began the year with 38 wolves. (It’s unclear how she started with four more wolves than she ended the previous year with). Nineteen wolf pups were born during the year, and 19 wolves died.

The wolf deaths are recorded under a category called “Number of deaths (…butchered for consumption).” Capt. Alex Gutierrez of the Minnesota DNR explained that this designation encompasses all deaths, including natural deaths and intentional killings.

Berry is skeptical that all of the wolf deaths Petter recorded were natural.

“If that many wolves are dying of natural causes then there is a very serious problem at Fur-Ever Wild that goes well beyond the pelting allegations,” he said.

The attorney said most people visiting the facility are likely unaware of what is happening to the animals.

“The average person going to Fur-Ever Wild would not think that it could be killing animals and harvesting their fur for money,” he said.

USDA inspection records from November indicate that all wolves at the facility are gray wolves.

Fur-Ever Wild has a number of other animals — including bobcats, foxes, lynx and opossums — though Berry noted that killing those animals for fur would not be against the law.

Berry said ALDF was tipped off about the alleged slaughtering at Fur-Ever Wild by local activists who were campaigning to prevent the facility from expanding to a second location in South Dakota. The second location opened briefly, but shut down after only 10 weeks due to local opposition.

“The activist effort was fueled in large part by public indignation over the compelling evidence that Fur-Ever Wild was killing its animals for fur,” Berry said.

Source – Huffington Post

Contact the author at Hilary.Hanson@huffingtonpost.com.

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Federal Agency’s New Action May Mean Release for Orca at Seaquarium   10 comments

Posted on January 24, 2014 by Animal Legal Defense Fund

Lolita to Gain Protected Status Following PETA, ALDF Petition

For immediate release:

Contact:

Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund
David Perle, PETA

lolita-feature-article-image-x2

Miami — Currently confined alone to a tank at the Miami Seaquarium that’s smaller than even the minimum standard required by federal law, Lolita the orca’s future could soon take a turn for the better. Following a petition by PETA, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), Orca Network, and others, the National Marine Fisheries Service today proposed a rule to grant Lolita the same status under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that covers all other Southern Resident orcas—the pod that she was seized from in 1970. PETA and the ALDF believe that the current confinement conditions that Lolita is subjected to are prohibited by the ESA. Today’s action opens the door to the prospect that she could be retired from performing and transferred to a seaside sanctuary, something PETA has long argued for.

“Lolita should never have been excluded from the Endangered Species Act in the first place, and now the government has righted that wrong,” says general counsel to PETA Jeffrey Kerr. “Lolita has suffered in that tank every day for more than four decades, and PETA is working hard to see her one day freed from her ordeal.”

“If Lolita had originally been granted the endangered status that she deserves, she might be back with her family by now,” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “The ALDF pledges to do everything in its power to see to it that she’s returned to the sea as soon as possible.”

Lolita—whose family was listed as endangered in 2005—is held in the smallest orca tank in North America and has been kept without another orca since 1980. She is afforded no protection from the sun, and she’s forced to perform tricks, which may violate the ESA’s protection against harm and harassment.

PETA and the ALDF will continue to work to have Lolita released into a seaside sanctuary that is waiting for her in her home waters off Washington’s San Juan Island and, if possible, back into her family pod. In the wild, Southern Resident orcas often spend their entire lives with their mothers. Lolita recognized her pod’s calls decades after being captured, and her 85-year-old mother is still thriving.

For more information, please visit PETA.org and ALDF.org.

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