Apparently Eric John Drogosch of Great Cat Adventures lost his USDA license in 2010 but continued to exhibit tigers. Finally, in Nov 2012 the USDA entered an order against him for $108,857.00 for 167 violations of the Animal Welfare Act and another $27,550.00 as a civil penalty for failure to comply with their previous order that he cease and desist from exhibiting wild cats.Read More
USDA Announces Recent Animal Welfare Act and Horse Protection Act Enforcement Actions
WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2013–The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is continuing to move more swiftly and consistently to take enforcement action in response to animal welfare violations. As part of its effort to make its actions transparent and accessible to the public, APHIS is highlighting enforcement actions taken in response to violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and Horse Protection Act (HPA).
Copies of documents related to these actions, as well as copies of official warnings, are available in the APHIS FOIA Reading Room at www.aphis.usda.gov/foia/foia_
During the month of January, the following persons entered into pre-litigation settlement agreements (also known as stipulations) in connection with alleged violations of the AWA or HPA:
APHIS Case No. CA08462-AC; MC Cargo Group Inc. [This case was inadvertently omitted from last month’s release.]
USDA’s administrative law judges and judicial officer issued decisions and orders under the AWA or HPA involving the following persons:
The AWA requires that minimum standards of care and treatment be provided for certain animals bred for commercial sale, used in research, transported commercially or exhibited to the public. It excludes those animals raised for food or fiber. Persons who operate facilities in these categories must provide their animals with adequate care and treatment in the areas of housing, handling, sanitation, nutrition, water, veterinary care and protection from extreme weather and temperatures.
To ensure that its licensees are meeting the AWA standards, APHIS inspectors conduct routine, unannounced inspections of all licensed facilities. Violations of the AWA can lead to penalties, including official warnings, civil penalties and license suspensions/revocations. For more information on the inspection and enforcement processes, visit APHIS’ animal care website at www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_
The HPA is the federal law that prohibits horses subjected to a practice called soring from participating in shows, sales, exhibitions and auctions. Soring is a cruel and abusive practice used to accentuate a horse’s gait. APHIS works actively with the horse industry to protect against such abuse, ensuring that only sound and healthy horses participate in shows, sales, exhibitions and auctions. APHIS’ ultimate goal is to end the inhumane practice of soring completely.
The HPA authorizes APHIS to issue civil penalties and to disqualify violators from participating in horse shows, exhibitions and sales. Both the AWA and HPA contain criminal penalties as well.Read More
Hunters, animal lovers feud over big cat killing
(Photo: Big Sky Brewing Co.)
Prized by hunters, despised by farmers, mountain lions once roamed nearly all the U.S.
At least 10 Western states now allow hunting of mountain lions
Conservation group estimates about 30,000 mountain lions in the West
HELENA, Mont. — A photo posted on Missoula-based Big Sky Brewing Co.’s Facebook page has ignited a hot debate over hunting ethics and exposed an online culture clash.
The photo features a female Big Sky employee posing with a large mountain lion she recently bagged during hunting season.
Facebook users shared the photo, posted Dec. 15, more than 90 times, and it had more than 400 “likes” as of Friday afternoon.
VIDEO: Mountain lion climbs tree in suburban Denver
BLOG: Cougar killed in Conn. had walked from S.D.
But not everyone who saw the photo liked it very much. Of about 300 comments on the photo, many expressed dismay at the popular craft brewery’s decision to post the hunting photo on its Facebook page.
“Really Big Sky?” wrote Facebook user Brett Kvo. “Hunting for food is one thing; killing for fun and then parading it on the Internet is another. I think I’ll take my business elsewhere. …”
Neal Leathers, co-founder and president of the Missoula, Mont., brewery, said he and his staff were caught off guard by the strong reaction to the photo.
“You never know when something is going to get a whole bunch of attention for whatever reason,” Leathers said Thursday.
Facebook user Britt Murphy wrote: “What a sad end to such a noble creatures (sic) life, made even more pathetic w/an empty show of celebration & Total lack of respect for the Spirit of such a Magical King of beasts.” The activist group Defenders of Wildlife estimates that 30,000 mountain lions, also called cougars, pumas and panthers, live in the western United States.
Other commenters, offended by the photo, called for a boycott of Big Sky beer.
“New boycott for me … this photo is gross,” Facebook user Laurienne Riley wrote.
“I looked up all of their products online and will delightedly boycott each one,” Facebook user Amy Arkebauer Cesar wrote.
Others were impressed with the trophy cat.
James Kothrade wrote: “WOW that’s one big damn cat. Nice job on the catch.”
“I love it. Thanks for the great pic,” Facebook user Linzy Cotham wrote. “I am a houndsman and know the work that is involved. It takes a lot of hard work to get something like that. Its not golf or tennis but some of us love it.”
Still others used the post as an opportunity to debate the merits and evils of hunting big predators such as mountain lions.
“You may not like the photo but there’s a scientific reason for it. It’s called science-based state management,” wrote Mark Holyoak, public relations director for the Missoula-based Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. “The issuing of tags for predators helps keep ALL wild game in check, plus it lessens human confrontations.”
“Unfortunately, I have to side with those opposed to the photo,” wrote Facebook user Max Thompson. “I’m not opposed to hunting, but the photo itself is in poor taste — certainly not respectful of the animal. In my opinion images like this do more harm to hunting than good — and I say this as a lifelong hunter and devout meat eater.”
And then there were Facebook users like Bruce Roberts who didn’t take a position on the photo or the ethics of hunting big cats for trophies but thought the company made an unwise decision to post the photo on the company’s Facebook page.
“Regardless of one’s thoughts about the image, it amazes me that any company could be so lacking in good business sense that they would purposely alienate (and lose, based on many of the comments) a good portion of their customer base by posting this photo on their business’s page,” Roberts wrote.
Leathers said company staff are avid recreationists who often post photos of themselves doing activities, such as back-country skiing, hiking and sometimes hunting.
The company responded to the comments in a statement on Facebook:
“Thank you for all the comments. We sincerely apologize to anyone offended by the image in this post. We’re a company deeply rooted in recreation, and in the state of Montana this includes hunting. The individual pictured is an employee and we salute her efforts, just as we salute yours, no matter what they may be.”
Leathers said he has no intentions of removing the photo.
“We’re letting it play out,” he said.
Adams also reports for the Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune
The call to circus animal trainer Lancelot Ramos caught him at what I would think was a time to totally ignore his cell phone.
But he answered, and we talked for several minutes about an animal rights group’s suspicions about what happened days before during a Sarasota circus performance at Showfolks.
Only then did Ramos say he wanted my fax number but couldn’t write it down because, well, he was in an enclosure working with several tigers, training for a performance.
“Can you text me the fax number?” he asked.
Sure thing, Lance. And take your time. I’ll call back.
Ramos, also known as Lancelot Kollmann, loves the spotlight but not the one he is getting into again now. A member of a long-time circus family, Ramos has had lots of trouble with federal animal welfare investigators.
Some of the problems stem from incidents there at his compound near Wimauma, about half an hour north of Sarasota County. His license to do animal shows was revoked in 2009 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, after the USDA blamed Ramos for the death of some big cats, and for neglecting an emaciated elephant named Ned.
Ramos says he has documents that show he can perform now, something that the USDA disputed on Friday. Ramos offered to fax documents, but they have not arrived yet.
The elephant died in 2009, after the USDA seized it and new custodians were unable to nurse it back to health.
Ramos says that elephant neglect thing was a bum rap, and that, like the USDA’s caretakers, he had simply tried and failed to care for an elephant that was a picky eater with a bad stomach.
But the animal rights group PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — said that elephant’s problem was a life of stressful mistreatment as a circus performer. And now PETA is all over Ramos again, for what the organization insists was a flagrantly illegal tiger performance in Sarasota on Dec. 8, at a nonprofit circus-community venue called “Showfolks.”
Ramos’s act at the “45th Annual Showfolks Circus” featured him working with 14 white tigers. PETA says an unimpressed audience member reported afterward that Ramos mistreated the tigers.
Actually, the alleged whistleblower “said he beat the crap out of them,” according to Carney Anne Chester, a PETA lawyer. Ramos told me that’s just not so, and that he is sure he knows who made the report, though PETA won’t tell.
It was a jealous retired animal trainer in Sarasota who has been trashing him to circus owners, Ramos said. She was never as good as he is and is jealous and wants to keep his act off the market, he says.
“Our industry has always been that way,” Ramos said. “Back in her day she worked some tigers but she’s never been much.”
Another animal trainer, Tammy Wallenda — of a circus family far more known for high-wire acts — said she watched the same show and saw no such abuse.
“He was very patient,” she said, even when part of the act did not go as hoped. She agreed it was a false report from another big cat trainer, and that it was an example of bitter jealousy in the industry.
Ramos said one female tiger “was a little nervous” during the Showfolks performance, and had balked at jumping over other tigers on cue, but he said he did nothing wrong and that overall the performance went well.
PETA, by the way, is offering a “$1,000 REWARD FOR VIDEO OF CIRCUS TRAINER BEATING TIGERS,” says the headline on a press release.
The reward goes only if the video leads to a successful enforcement action against Ramos.
Delhi: Ajay Devgn’s Diwali release ‘Son Of Sardaar’ which recently crossed the 100cr mark has been a blockbuster hit, Devgn is on a new high and is really happy with the positive response which ‘Son Of Sardaar’ has received. Bollywood`s Lion King is now geared up for his next release, Sajid Khan’s ‘Himmatwala’. The poster, which was released this August, had Ajay Devgn holding the big cat.
Tigers seem to be the flavour of the season with Richard Parker (‘Life Of Pi’ fame), and Ajay & Sajid have decided to tackle this Bengal Tiger head on. According to sources close to Ajay & Sajid Khan, the duo are all set to fly down to a farm in Mauritius that specialises in animals being trained for the big screen. Apparently, it is for a crucial scene in the film which is inspired by Amitabh Bachchan’s hand-to-paw combat in ‘Mr. Natwarlal’. Interestingly, the stunt director of this memorable scene was none other than Devgn’s father – Veeru Devgn.
This pivotal scene would be shot in Mauritius over a period of seven days under constant supervision by stunt coordinators & experts. Unlike in India, in Mauritus, filming of animals is allowed under expert supervision. A source close to Ajay informed us that Sajid wanted to use computer graphics and special effects but it was on Ajay’s insistence that he is performing the daredevil stunt with the tiger all by himself.