USDA accused of ignoring animal welfare violations in favor of business interests
Former USDA employees say inspectors were discouraged from documenting poor welfare.
During a 2017 inspection of Monterey Zoo, formerly known as Wild Things Animal Rentals, Inc., in Salinas, California, federal officials found a squirrel monkey, kept alone in a cage, with a chain dangling from its waist. An elderly kangaroo was “exhibiting tremors and vision loss,” a federal inspector wrote in an internal memo. A rodent died after several days of declining health, without receiving veterinary care, the memo said.
Two inspectors from the United States Department of Agriculture, the agency responsible for enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), detailed these problems in an internal memo after a routine check of the zoo on September 25, 2017. But the memo included a surprising twist: “Photos and videos from the day