Feds Find 6 Cows Shot Multiple Times at JBS; PETA Seeks Investigation

For Immediate Release:
March 3, 2022

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Plainwell, Mich. – After new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) documents revealed that six cows had been repeatedly shot in the head—leaving them still conscious and in severe pain, as some of them looked or even jumped around after the first shot—at the JBS slaughterhouse near Plainwell, PETA sent a letter today to Allegan County Prosecuting Attorney Myrene Kay Koch asking her to investigate and file applicable criminal charges against those responsible for these incidents, which occurred between April and August 2021.

“These cows were condemned to agonizing deaths at JBS,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Dan Paden. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation into the botched shootings of these animals, who feel pain and fear every bit as much as humans do.”

The USDA also cited JBS six times between June and September after finding other cows downed, stuck, and crying out in distress, including one steer found crammed into a box with another steer standing on top of him. Another cow was trapped by the head between a bar and a wall for at least 19 minutes, and other animals were found stuck on a fence, trapped between a pipe and a plate, and with their legs protruding through failing floors in transport trailers.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Koch follows.

March 3, 2022

The Honorable Myrene Kay Koch
Allegan County Prosecuting Attorney

Dear Ms. Koch:

I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against JBS Foods USA and the workers responsible for repeatedly shooting at least six cows in the head at its slaughterhouse located on 11th Street near Plainwell. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incidents, which the agency recently made available to the public. (See the attached table. You can find this information in its original format by clicking here and searching for this slaughterhouse’s establishment number, M562M; scrolling to the below dates; and then scrolling to the right.)

  • On April 15, 2021, a worker ineffectively shot an immobile cow in her head before a second shot rendered her unconscious.
  • On May 5, 2021, a worker ineffectively shot a cow in the head twice before stunning the animal. The first shot was apparently misplaced.
  • On May 17, 2021, a worker shot a cow in her head, dropping her to her knees but leaving her looking around. A second shot rendered her unconscious.
  • On June 29, 2021, a worker punctured a cow’s skull with a bolt but left the cow jumping and looking around before a second shot stunned the animal.
  • On July 26, 2021, a worker ineffectively shot another downed cow in her head, after which she looked around—before she was shot again.
  • On August 20, 2021, a worker shot a cow between the eye and ear, leaving the animal bleeding but conscious. A second blast stunned the cow.

This conduct may violate MCL § 750.50, as the documented acts aren’t generally accepted animal husbandry practices involving livestock otherwise exempt from prosecution. Please note that FSIS’ action—which has clearly been insufficient—carries no criminal or civil penalties and doesn’t preempt criminal liability under state law for acts of cruelty to animals. For more details on FSIS’ findings, please contact District Manager Dr. Donald Fickey. Thank you for your consideration and for the important work that you do.


Daniel Paden
Vice President of Evidence Analysis
Cruelty Investigations Department


Ban Cruel Contests Where Innocent Wildlife Is Killed For Cash In PA

145 Signatures Collected

A blood spattered coyote lay lifeless on a patch of snowy ground  – eyes glazed, tongue out, front and back legs bound – as a person stooped to punch a tag into her ear.

She was one of at least 34 coyotes lured by high-tech calling devices or chased by dogs and then massacred with high-powered firearms over a three-day killing spree, in a single wildlife killing contest in Pennsylvania fueled by cash incentives and gun giveaways.

Hunters for the 19th Annual Sullivan County Coyote Hunt killed the coyotes from across ten PA counties and then trekked the bloodied bodies to the Laporte Fire Hall, where they watched as organizers bound the dead animals’ front and back legs together, hung them on a hook, and called out their weights. 

The hunters who killed the heaviest female each day went home $1,025 “richer,” according to the hunt’s Facebook page. The hunter who killed the smallest coyote got $200, while the hunter who killed the heaviest overall coyote pocketed $2,000.  Every hunter who brought a dead coyote to the weigh-ins also collected a bounty of $50 – meaning organizers dished out more than $6,000 to cruelly, wastefully, and pointlessly kill coyotes.

(Photo Credit: Lady Freethinker Investigation)

An investigator working for Lady Freethinker who attended the event noticed disrespectful treatment of the lifeless animals – including dragging them across the ground by their tails, using their bodies as foot rests, kicking their heads back and forth, and referring to the animals as “fuckers”.  The investigator also noticed two younger individuals playing with a hanging coyote, with one encouraging the other to “take a picture of his butt.”

While some of the hunters took the killed coyotes with them – with our investigator hearing them comment that they planned to skin the animals to further profit from their pelts – it was also clear that at least some of the hunters had killed the coyotes with an eye only on the cash prizes. 

Several of the hunters told organizers to just toss the bodies, with one reportedly saying he had nothing to do with the body and had just killed the coyote for the money and two other hunters reportedly saying “Just toss it” and “That’s what dumpsters are for,” according to LFT’s investigator.

Another hunter was heard saying “I like them dead. They’re better off dead,” while a presenter at the event – who gave tips to those gathered on how to kill more coyotes – was overheard describing the killing as “fun and addicting,” according to LFT’s investigator.

There is no honor in using high-powered technology and firearms to kill innocent animals for cash and prizes, nor in abusing and disrespecting the dead bodies of animals whose only crime was to exist.

PA coyote killing contest

(Photo Credit: Lady Freethinker Investigation)

Coyotes live in bonded pairs. They take great care of their pups, who often cannot survive without them. They have complex means of communication and a social hierarchy. Not only  are they cruel and unethical, these contests also are pointless.

While our investigator heard a few hunters talking about how they couldn’t find deer to hunt, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has reported that deer populations are stable, that coyotes do not have an impact on the local deer population,  and that predations on deer – by all species of predators in the state – account to less than 1 percent of deer deaths.  Pennsylvania’s livestock also suffered the fewest depredations of all states, with less than 2 percent of operations reporting losses, according to the most recent report published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

It’s also not just coyotes that are under fire in Pennsylvania: The state’s dozens of contests also incentivize the mass killing of squirrels, crows, bobcats, raccoons and foxes.

Eight states, recognizing the inherent depravity of incentivizing the killing of innocent wildlife, have banned these cruel killing contests. It’s time for Pennsylvania – which has more killing contests than any other state in the nation – to stop this insanity.

PA Coyote killing

(Photo Credit: Lady Freethinker Investigation)

Sign our petition urging the Pennsylvania Game Commission to initiate a rulemaking change that would prohibit any person or agency from offering cash, prizes, or otherwise “incentivizing” the indiscriminate killing of innocent wildlife. We’re also asking that the businesses who sponsor this hunt withdraw any future financial support and find other, more humane ways to support their local communities.

Then, if you are a Pennsylvania resident, please respectfully and politely reach out to the PA Game Commission and tell them you are sickened that these cruel contests – which have no documented benefits, but which glamorize and incentivize massacring wildlife – are still allowed in Pennsylvania and that you hope they will do all they can to ban wildlife killing contests in the state. You can reach them by email at: [email protected].

PA coyote kill

(Photo Credit: Lady Freethinker Investigation)

coyote killing in PA


Court Rules Jeff Lowe Treated Lions With ‘Appalling Cruelty’

PETA has scored a victory with our Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit against notorious animal exhibitor and Tiger King villain Jeff Lowe! The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma found that Lowe “treated the four lions directly involved in this case … with appalling cruelty.” This is the first court decision establishing that Lowe’s treatment of animals was so deficient that it violated the ESA.

Jeff Lowe’s Violations of the ESA

Our lawsuit sought justice for the mistreatment of lion cubs Nala, Kahari, Amelia, and Leo, who were originally in the custody of Jeff Lowe and his former business partner Tim Stark. Stark violated multiple court orders in the case by transporting the four cubs to Lowe’s Wynnewood property, and Kahari died there only days before her scheduled rescue.

The court agreed that Lowe—who had lied about the circumstances of Kahari’s death and left her body outside to decompose beyond the point at which a necropsy could determine its cause—was in fact responsible for the lion’s death. He was also found liable for a number of other violations, including the following:

  • Feeding the cubs a commercial milk replacer that lacked the necessary nutrients found in mothers’ milk and, when they were older, providing rancid, nutrient-deficient meat as their only food source
  • Lacking adequate enclosures, which contributed to gruesome injuries, including a bite wound that required part of Amelia’s paw to be amputated
  • Failing to hire a veterinarian with sufficient training or experience in lion care and failing to treat numerous injuries uncovered by PETA experts
  • Failing to take adequate COVID-19 precautions, including failure to restrict access to animals, a first-of-its kind ruling under the ESA

What You Can Do to Help Big Cats

This court win sends a clear message to other animal exploiters that they will be held accountable for their actions. PETA’s victory against Stark allowed us to rescue the three surviving cubs as well as 22 other big cats.

Please urge your members of Congress to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which would end private ownership of big cats, safeguarding humans and our fellow animals across the U.S.!


Chris Brown’s Monkey Dealer Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Wildlife Trafficking

Conviction Follows PETA Complaint Over Singer’s ‘Pet’ Capuchin Monkey

For Immediate Release:
March 2, 2022

Robin Goist 202-483-7382

Parrish, Fla. – After PETA tipped off authorities to singer Chris Brown’s illegal possession of a capuchin monkey, the Florida-based dealer behind the sale was indicted in federal court and pleaded guilty today to a felony charge of conspiracy to commit wildlife trafficking and three counts of violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Jim Hammonds—who breeds and sells exotic animals under the name “The Monkey Whisperer”— faces up to five years in prison for conspiracy to commit wildlife trafficking plus an additional three years for the ESA violations. He also faces fines of up to $400,000 and up to six years of supervised release.

At a change of plea hearing today, Hammonds pleaded guilty to the wildlife trafficking conspiracy charge stemming from his $12,650 sale of a capuchin monkey to Brown in 2017. According to court records, Hammonds had the monkey transported to Nevada to make it appear that a local resident had purchased the animal, when, in fact, Brown (listed as “Person 1” in the indictment) resides in California, where possessing a capuchin monkey as a “pet” is illegal. Hammonds’ guilty pleas over violations of the ESA stem from his sale of endangered cotton-top tamarins to residents of Alabama, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.

“Exotic animals are not playthings, fashion accessories, or Instagram props for celebrities, and they’re not a business venture, either,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Michelle Sinnott. “Many animal advocates alerted PETA to Chris Brown’s illegal possession of this monkey, and they helped us take down a cruel and criminal breeder.”

In 2017, PETA alerted California officials to Brown’s unlawful possession of the capuchin, which resulted in the animal’s seizure by the state and two misdemeanor charges levied at Brown. According to the search warrant affidavit, it was PETA’s complaint regarding Brown that triggered law enforcement to investigate Hammonds. The affidavit also indicates that officials believed that Hammonds had sold two spider monkeys to rapper Swae Lee. PETA also alerted California wildlife officials to Lee’s unlawful possession of these spider monkeys, which led to the seizure of at least one of the primates.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.


500-Pound Bear ‘Hank the Tank’ Has Name Cleared by DNA Evidence

After considering killing an exceptionally large and hungry bear, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has instead decided to humanely relocate “Hank the Tank” — an especially important decision given that recent DNA evidence has revealed he’s not the only culprit behind recent home invasions.

The DNA evidence that exonerated the 500-pound bear actually shows that three or more black bears are responsible for as many as 30 incidents of breaking into and damaging homes in the upscale Tahoe Keys neighborhood since last July.

Growing human communities have increasingly and significantly encroached on what is natural bear country in the Lake Tahoe Basin, resulting in numerous incidents of bears searching for food in trash containers and inside homes.

“Improperly stored human food and trash are likely attracting bears into this neighborhood,” the CDFW said in a statement. “We all need to take all precautions to store food and trash properly to protect ourselves, our neighbors and local bears.”

Hank’s obsession with human food is very likely the cause of his enormous size. The average black bear is between 100 and 300 pounds in the western United States, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“He didn’t get fat like that eating berries and grubs,” Ann Bryant from the Bear League, a bear rescue organization, told the Guardian.

Wildlife officials originally thought that Hank the Tank alone was responsible for the break-ins, but their discussed plans to possibly kill the bear as a “last option” drew sharp criticism, including from the Bear League. So the department decided instead to trap and release the bear.

The CDFW also is collecting data by trapping, tagging, and releasing bears back into suitable habitat in the South Lake Tahoe area with hopes the information will help improve bear management techniques. No bears will be euthanized during that process, the department said.

Information about how you can help bear-proof your home so that both you and the bears are safer are available at the CDFW’s webpage Keep Me Wild: Black Bear.


Our Guide to Vegan Candles for Your Home

Published by Rebecca Libauskas.

Compassion feels and smells magnificent! Adding fragrance to your home with vegan candles is a simple, affordable way to create mood-boosting ambiance. It also adds character to your space, allowing each room to have its own vibe.

We’ve compiled a list of pleasantly scented candles that were made with kindness: These products were not tested on animals and do not contain animal-derived ingredients. These companies provide delicious-smelling scents for every season and mood, proving that there’s no reason to support businesses that pay for cruel archaic tests on animals. We also don’t need to steal bees’ wax or honey.

If you share your home with an animal companion, please remember that certain smells can cause respiratory problems, allergies, skin reactions, or other side effects. Ask your veterinarian about using any fragrance products.

Cruelty-Free and Vegan Candles

Few things are more relaxing than a candlelit room. Candles can add a warm glow to a gloomy day and promote feelings of relaxation.

For a compassionate candle selection, opt for soy wax. Paraffin wax releases chemicals and soot into the air that are bad for you, your animal companions, and the environment. And bees are killed for beeswax.

PETA’s Spiced Pumpkin Pie–Scented Candle

This rich, comforting scent captures the aroma of a real vegan pumpkin pie. It’s sure to evoke homey feelings of coziness and warmth.

PETA’s Wet Dog Candle

Don’t wet dogs have their own unique, happy scent? PETA’s candle will make you smile as you breathe in that one-of-a-kind whiff of a wet animal.

wet dog scented candle

PETA’s Lavender-Bergamot Candle

This delightful vegan candle, scented with lavender and bergamot, can brighten your home and lift your spirits.

lavender bergamot vegan scented candle

PETA’s Spiced Cranberry Candle

Feeling romantic? This pleasant vegan candle, scented with spices and cranberry, will set the mood.

holiday spiced cranberry vegan candle

October Fields’ ‘Enlightenment’ Pottery Candle

Citrus and spice make everything nice! This elegant candle has notes of vetiver, coriander, wild bergamot, and tangerine.

PETA’s Tofu-Scented Candle

Is someone in your home sensitive to smells? No problem! This scentless candle can add warmth and light without bothering those with allergies.

vegan tofu scented candle

Forage Candle Co. Old Book Candle

Calling all book lovers! This candle captures the magic of old books with notes of pine, sandalwood, musk, and vanilla.

AbbottNYC’s Sequoia Candle

Scented with smoky incense, cedarwood, and sandalwood, this candle may make you feel like you’re on a camping trip.

Apotheke’s Charcoal Concrete 4 Wick Candle

Giant candles are all the rage these days, and this four-wick one provides a whopping 250 hours of burn time, set in a gorgeous black concrete container. Of course, if you’re not ready to commit yet, you can test out any of Apotheke’s scents in a smaller votive size.


Happy cruelty-free shopping! Before making a purchase, check our database to see if a company tests on animals. There are no specific laws concerning “cruelty-free” or “no animal testing” labeling of products, and companies may not have the same high standards as PETA’s database. We recommend purchasing only products made by companies on our “Companies That Don’t Test on Animals” list.


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

We are taught the Golden Rule as young children, and all major religions teach principles of nonviolence and kindness. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Ethical treatment—the Golden Rule—must be extended to all living beings: reptiles, mammals, fish, insects, birds, amphibians, and crustaceans.


New Study Says Elephants Kept in Solitary Confinement Suffer Like Humans Do

New research suggests that captive elephants living alone in barren enclosures may suffer the same psychological distress and symptoms as humans sentenced to solitary confinement.

People who involuntarily spend more than 10 days in solitude have demonstrated psychological distress, including panic attacks and hallucinations, as well as declining physical health, according to National Geographic. Captive elephants kept in solitary enclosures also may suffer similarly, according to a recent review of scientific studies by Neurophysicist Bob Jacobs.

Jacobs, who has studied both animal and human brains and currently works at Colorado College, said mammals have “the same basic blueprints.”

“From everything we know about the brain, there’s no reason to think that an elephant brain would react any differently to solitary confinement than a human brain,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs’ review of scientific studies suggests that sparse, captive environments and living alone also can negatively affect large-brained mammals, including captive sentient elephants.

Elephants are among the most intelligent and sociable of animals. They live in families, protect their young, grieve their dead, and even show evidence of possessing “a theory of mind,” Jill Lapore wrote in The Atlantic.

Yet captive elephants, including several who live in the United States, reside in barren enclosures, far from their own kind and any meaningful enrichment.

Asha the elephant has lived alone for the past 30 years at a small roadside zoo, confined to a barn and three “yards”:  a 90 by 40 foot grass lot, a dirt patch, and the space where she is forced to give rides to children for $15, according to National Geographic. 

Asha’s owners insist she is happy and loved like a family “pet”, but a veterinarian who observed her told National Geographic that the elephant seemed “unstimulated” and “detached.” He also reported she swayed back and forth and shifted weight off certain limbs, which could possibly indicate arthritis or joint disease — both common in captive elephants.

While Asha might live alone, she is not alone in her circumstances. The 40-year-old African elephant is one of at least nine captive elephants living solitary lives at roadside attractions in the United States.

The stresses of captivity change the brain and can cause elephants and other intelligent, social nonhuman animals to develop “zoochosis,” a state of severe psychological distress that can manifest in repetitive, pointless behaviors rarely seen in the wild, said Jacobs.

For captive elephants,  long-term isolation can trigger pacing, head bobbing, rocking, or swaying, among other repetitive behaviors, according to existing studies.

“The more evidence you look at, the more you have to come to the conclusion that it is not ethically justifiable to keep these animals in captivity,” Jacobs said.

But keeping elephants alone in small enclosures for the majority of their lives —by themselves?

“That’s probably about as bad as it could get.”



The law, defences and penalties for Aggravated Animal Cruelty in New South Wales – Criminal Law

To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on

Two teenagers have been charged over the alleged beating and killing of 14 kangaroos on the NSW South Coast, and will face court in November 2021.

Police appealed to the community for help after the dead bodies of the kangarros were found at Long Beach, near Batemans Bay. Investigations eventually led to the arrest of the two teens.

The sole surviving joey was taken into care by WIRES volunteers and is now on the mend. She has been named ‘Hope.’

The pair will face the Children’s Court, as they are under the age of 18 years and are considered to be ‘young persons’ under the law.

According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 17,710 offenders under the age of 18 years in New South Wales in the year 2019-2020.

The statistics suggest that young persons made up 15% of the total number of offenders across the state during that period of time, and the most common offences were fare evasion and acts intended to cause injury.

In most states and territories in Australia, persons as young as 10 years old can be held responsible for a criminal offence.

The ACT is the only jurisdiction that has raised the age of criminal responsibility to 14 years of age.

There are many varied and often complex reasons why young people commit crimes, and the Children’s Court which was founded in the early 1900s and while it has the jurisdiction to impose a punishment that it believes is appropriate to the crime.

The Children’s Court runs a little less formally than other courts and puts a strong focus on prevention, intervention and rehabilitation for young offenders, taking a view that young people who commit crimes often have a good chance at turning their lives around.

It has  also long been acknowledged that locking children up in juvenile detention does more harm than good, and it can be the actual catalyst that sets them up for a lifetime of crime.

Typically, the young offenders who do end up in custody are likely to have committed very serious offences.

Section 5 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW) (‘the Act’) makes it an offence to commit ‘an act of cruelty’ upon an animal.

Section 4 of the Act defines an ‘animal’ as:

(a) a member of a vertebrate species including any:
(i) amphibian, or
(ii) bird, or
(iii) fish, or
(iv) mammal (other than a human being), or
(v) reptile, or

(b) a crustacean but only when at a building or place (such as a restaurant) where food is prepared or offered for consumption by retail sale in the building or place.

The same section defines ‘cruelty’ as including any beating, kicking, wounding of an animal, exposure to excessive heat or cold or inflicting pain on an animal.

Cruelty also includes failing to take reasonable care of an animal, or to take reasonable steps to alleviate pain or suffering, or to provide necessary veterinary treatment.

It is also an offence to authorise another person to commit an act of cruelty on an animal that you own, or are in charge of.

The maximum penalty for animal cruelty is 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,500 for an individual, or a $27,500 fine for a corporation.

The offence of aggravated animal cruelty in NSW

Section 6 of the Act relates to ‘aggravated cruelty’, which is defined by section 4 as:

(a) causing the death, deformity or serious disablement of the animal, or

(b) where the animal is so severely injured, so diseased or in such a physical condition that it is cruel to keep it alive.

The offence is made out where such an act is deliberately or recklessly caused.

A person is ‘reckless’ if he or she foresaw the possibility of any of the above occurred, but went ahead with the actions regardless.

The maximum penalty for aggravated animal cruelty is 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $22,000 for individuals, or a fine of $110,000 for corporations.

Defences to animal cruelty charges

A whole range of defences to animal cruelty are contained in section 24 of the Act, including religious slaughter; see section 24(c)(i) below.

The section says that a person is not guilty of animal cruelty where the act was committed against:

(a) (i) a stock animal–in the course of, and for the purpose of, ear-marking or ear-tagging the animal or branding, other than firing or hot iron branding of the face of, the animal,
(ii) a pig of less than 2 months of age or a stock animal of less than 6 months of age which belongs to a class of animals comprising cattle, sheep or goats–in the course of, and for the purpose of, castrating the animal,
(iii) a goat of less than 1 month of age or a stock animal of less than 12 months of age which belongs to the class of animal comprising cattle–in the course of, and for the purpose of, dehorning the animal,
(iv) a sheep of less than 6 months of age–in the course of, and for the purpose of, tailing the animal, or
(v) a sheep of less than 12 months of age–in the course of, and for the purpose of, performing the Mules operation upon the animal, in a manner that inflicted no unnecessary pain upon the animal,

(b) where the act of cruelty is done in the course of, and for the purpose of:
(i) hunting, shooting, snaring, trapping, catching or capturing the animal, or
(ii) destroying the animal, or preparing the animal for destruction, for the purpose of producing food for human consumption, in a manner that inflicted no unnecessary pain upon the animal,

(c) in the course of, and for the purpose of, destroying the animal, or preparing the animal for destruction:
(i) in accordance with the precepts of the Jewish religion or of any other religion prescribed for the purposes of this subparagraph, or
(ii) in compliance with any duty imposed upon that person by or under this or any other Act,

(e) in the course of, and for the purpose of:
(i) carrying out animal research, or
(ii) supplying animals for use in connection with animal research,
in accordance with the provisions of the Animal Research Act 1985, or

(f) for the purpose of feeding a predatory animal lawfully kept by the person if:
(i) the act concerned was the release of live prey for the predatory animal, and
(ii) the diet of the predatory animal included animals of the kind released, and
(iii) the person believed on reasonable grounds that the feeding of live prey to the predatory animal was necessary for the predatory animal’s survival because the predatory animal would not eat a dead animal or meat from a dead animal.

Other defences to the criminal charge include duress and necessity.

The offence of serious animal cruelty in NSW

Section 530 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) makes it an offence punishable by a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison to commit an act of ‘serious animal cruelty’, which is where a person, with the intention of inflicting severe pain:

(a) tortures, beats or commits any other serious act of cruelty on animal, and

(b) kills or seriously injures or causes prolonged suffering to the animal.

For the purposes of the offence,

  • An “animal” is defined as a mammal (other than a human being), a bird or a reptile, and
  • To “kill or seriously injure” an animal includes using the animal as a lure or kill, and
  • A “serious act of cruelty” includes using the animal as a lure or kill.

The section imposes a 3 year maximum penalty where the act was committed recklessly rather than intentionally.

A person is not criminally responsible for the offence if the conduct occurred:

  • In accordance with an authority conferred by or under the Animal Research Act 1985 or any other Act or law, or

In the course of or for the purposes of routine agricultural or animal husbandry activities, recognised religious practices, the extermination of pest animals or veterinary practice.

Again, duress and necessity are defences to this charge.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.


Legal Victory! Court Slams Jeff Lowe’s ‘Appalling Cruelty’ to Lions in PETA Case

For Immediate Release:
February 25, 2022

David Perle 202-483-7382

Oklahoma City – Today, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma granted PETA a victory in its Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit against notorious animal exhibitor and Tiger King villain Jeff Lowe, finding that Lowe “treated the four lions directly involved in this case … with appalling cruelty.” This is the first court decision establishing that Lowe’s treatment of animals is so deficient it violates the ESA.

“This animal exploiter let these motherless cubs suffer without bare necessities like proper food and veterinary care—and one even died,” says PETA Foundation Director of Litigation Asher Smith. “PETA is celebrating the end of his reign of terror and today’s ruling, which puts other Tiger King–style villains on notice that their days of abusing vulnerable animals are numbered.”

Lowe was added as a defendant in PETA’s lawsuit against his former business partner, fellow Tiger King subject Tim Stark, after Stark violated multiple court orders in the case by transporting the four cubs to Lowe’s Wynnewood property. One of them, Kahari, died only days before her scheduled rescue. The court found Lowe liable for a number of violations today, including:

  • Feeding the cubs a commercial milk replacer that lacked the necessary nutrients found in mothers’ milk, and when they were older, providing rancid, nutrient-deficient meat as their only food source
  • Lack of adequate enclosures, which contributed to gruesome injuries, including a bite wound that required part of the paw of one lion, Amelia, to be amputated
  • Failing to hire a veterinarian with sufficient training or experience in lion care or treat numerous injuries uncovered by PETA experts
  • Failing to take adequate COVID-19 precautions, including failure to restrict access to animals, a first-of-its kind ruling under the ESA

The court also agreed that Lowe—who lied about the circumstances of Kahari’s death and left her body outside to decompose beyond the point at which a necropsy could determine its cause—was in fact responsible for the lion’s death.

PETA’s win against Stark allowed the group to rescue the three surviving cubs, along with 22 other big cats—including Nala, who likely would have died if PETA hadn’t intervened.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.