YUMA, Ariz. - Tuesday morning, PETA filed a lawsuit against U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, that challenges his agency's automatic renewal of federal Animal Welfare Act licenses, even when it knew that the applicants such as 'The Camel Farm' in Yuma, were in violation of the act.
The AWA prohibits licensing a facility that can't demonstrate that it's operating in accordance with the act, and last summer, the USDA announced that it would consider revamping its AWA licensing practices so that facilities with a history of noncompliance aren't handed renewals year after year, which violates the law.
The farm was cited for 33 violations of the AWA and during almost every inspection, it was cited for failing to supply veterinary care to animals, including a goat who hasn't been putting weight on his right front leg for over a year according to PETA.
PETA said that shortly after renewing the farms AWA license, the USDA cited it for 11 violations of the act, eight of which were repeat violations for issues that had been noted by inspectors before the license was renewed.
"PETA is calling on Secretary Perdue to stop violating the law by letting the USDA sign off on license renewals when the agency knows that applicants are mistreating animals and consistently out of compliance with federal law," says PETA Foundation Vice President of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. "The government shouldn't hand out licenses to facilities that leave ailing animals to suffer without veterinary care for months or even years."
Other facilities implicated in PETA's lawsuit include roadside zoos in Texas, Colorado, Maryland, North Carolina and Ohio.
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