Animal & Wildlife Welfare

We Fight Against Animal & Wildlife Abuse & Crimes, along with Trophy Hunting, Use for Human Entertainment, Any Captivity

Animal & Wildlife abuse, or Animal and Wildlife cruelty is the crime of inflicting physical pain, suffering or death on an animal, usually a tame one, beyond necessity for normal discipline. It can include neglect that is so monstrous (withholding food and water) that the animal has suffered, died or been put in imminent danger of death.

We fight against any use of any Animals and Wildlife for Research and for use in Entertainment while we set up law against Dog Fighting, Combating Breeding at Puppy Mills, Farmed Animals and those Laws, against any Animal and Wildlife Captivity (Zoo’s, Circuses, Roadside Zoo’s Acquarium’s and Seaquariums), including the transport of them let alone if they are being used for profit and for Human Entertainment, and we especially against Trophy Hunters and trophy Hunting all through multiple legal channels & through litigation and legislative advocacy. Report Cruelty to Animals

Only Idiots are trophy Hunters

To save wildlife from being killed just for bragging rights.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of wild animals in the U.S. and around the world are killed by trophy hunting. The hunters’ primary motivation is not to get food, but simply to obtain animal parts (heads, hides or claws and even the whole animal) for display. Trophy hunters use cruel and unsporting methods like baiting and hounding to target native carnivores like bearsmountain lions and wolves. They shoot animals in captive hunts (in which hunters pursue animals who can’t escape) and participate in gruesome wildlife killing contests that target bobcatscoyotesfoxes and other species.

The Ivory Game is a Netflix Documentary produced by Terra Mater Factual Studios and Vulcan Productions, in collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio.

Poaching is exterminating elephants from Africa’s great landscapes, and causing untold cost to ecosystems, parks, and communities. Populations have decreased an additional 30% in just the last seven years. We are running out of time, and there is a role for all of us to play.

Learn how you can help the organizations seen in the film.

– Be informed and #buyinformed.

– Purchase only ‘SAFE’ products with the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance.

– Close domestic markets in every country. 

New group aims to unite political foes to stop federally funded animal studies

White Coat Waste Project is a taxpayer watchdog group representing more than 2 million liberty-lovers and animal-lovers who all agree: taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to pay over $20 billion every year for wasteful and cruel experiments on dogs, cats, monkeys and other animals.

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Not only has Harvard University showered money on a sham Colombian laboratory that the National Institutes of Health has defunded—it’s also bankrolling experimenter Margaret Livingstone, who calls sewing baby monkeys’ eyes shut “science.”

LEARN MORE AND TAKE ACTION

An undergraduate psychology course at Utah State University (USU) requires students to torment live rats in a psychology experiment, forcing the animals to endure cruel training involving pushing a lever in order to obtain food while being blasted with disorienting lights.

There is no need to inflict suffering on rats. Myriad teaching methods that don’t use animals are widely available. This course at USU even previously used a superior “online rat simulator.”

Please ACT NOW to urge USU to get on the right side of history and stop tormenting animals in this psychology course.

or decades, companies and designers have heeded animal advocates’ call to ban fur from store shelves, runways, and magazine pages due to the cruelty with which it is produced. While important victories have been achieved, the fur industry continues to abuse animals for their fur in countries around the world — including the U.S.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is committed to protecting animals from exploitation for their fur through multiple channels, including litigation, legislation, and educating policymakers and members of the public.

It’s estimated that more than 100 million animals worldwide are exploited for their fur every year, the majority raised on “fur farms” where they spend their lives in inhumane conditions before being cruelly killed. Animals such as minks, foxes, rabbits, chinchillas, and raccoon dogs — a member of the canid family — are among those raised and killed for their fur.

Fur farms have much in common with factory farms where pigs, chickens, and other farmed animals are raised in industrial animal agriculture. In both cases, animals are kept in cramped, unsanitary conditions — and in both cases, the business of exploiting them is lucrative. Worldwide, fur sales total in the tens of billions of dollars.

On fur farms, animals are typically kept in small wire cages that drastically limit their movement and prevent them from engaging in the behaviors that come naturally to them. When they’re caged outdoors, they have little to no protection from weather extremes. When they’re caged indoors, ammonia from their waste fouls the air and can even burn their eyes and throats. Minks, the animals raised on fur farms in the greatest numbers, live largely solitary lives in the wild. Close, prolonged proximity to other minks — unavoidable on a fur farm — causes them significant discomfort.

The inhumane conditions on fur farms cause the animals so much stress that they commonly engage in “stereotypic” behaviors, such as repetitive pacing and self-mutilation. When they are killed, the condition of their fur is prioritized over any humane considerations. As a result, they’re often killed using methods that cause significant suffering, including electrocution, poisoning, and gassing.

Multiple countries — including the United Kingdom, Norway, Croatia, and the Czech Republic — have already taken action to ban fur farming. Others have implemented bans on the farming of certain species for fur, such as minks in France.

Fur Sale Bans Protect Animals

The Animal Legal Defense Fund supports local and statewide legislative efforts to ban the sale of fur. Such bans prohibit the sale of new fur items, excluding those that are used or secondhand. In 2011, West Hollywood became the first U.S. city to implement a fur sale ban, using language that local officials based on model legislation provided by the Animal Legal Defense Fund. The city of Berkeley followed suit, soon joined by San Francisco and Los Angeles. In 2019, a statewide ban was signed into law in California; it will go into effect in 2023. Several cities outside of California — including Wellesley, Massachusetts; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Hallandale Beach, Florida — have also passed fur sale bans.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund supports statewide fur sale ban legislation in multiple U.S. states; see if yours is among them and learn how you can help pass a local fur sale ban where you live.

More than a year after San Francisco’s fur sale ban went into effect, it too was challenged in court — this time by the International Fur Trade Federation. The Animal Legal Defense Fund successfully intervened in the lawsuit, assisting San Francisco officials in defending the ban’s constitutionality and standing up for the city’s right to ban the sale of this cruel product. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2020, and again in March 2021 after the industry group amended its challenge to try again. In early 2022, the International Fur Trade Federation agreed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ dismissal of its appeal with prejudice, leaving San Francisco’s fur sale ban enforceable and clear from challenge.

Trapping wild animals for their fur is a centuries-old practice that unfortunately still persists today. Animals including foxes, coyotes, beavers, bobcats, and raccoons are trapped or snared, causing pain, panic, and suffering that may last for hours or even days. In their panicked efforts to escape, some animals break teeth or bones, or even chew off their own limbs. Some die before the trapper returns; others are killed using cruel methods such as strangulation, adding to the trauma they experience. And traps and snares also harm unintended animal victims, such as Roxy, a dog who died after being caught in a snare in New Mexico.

As many as seven million wild animals are trapped and killed for their fur annually in the U.S. alone. Their fur is often sold abroad — including in countries which themselves prohibit the use of the cruel leghold traps that are commonly used in the U.S.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund supports legislation to protect animals from being cruelly trapped, including Roxy’s Law — a New Mexico law named for the canine snare victim and enacted in 2021, prohibiting the use of traps, snares, and poisons on public lands in the state — and the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act, a federal bill that would prohibit the use of body-gripping traps in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Defending Fur Sale Bans in Court

Fur sale bans help animals, but hurt the fur industry’s bottom line. It should come as no surprise, then, that industry interests have sought to have these bans struck down in court. A business that profited from fur sales filed a lawsuit challenging West Hollywood’s ban in 2014. The Animal Legal Defense Fund stood up for the ban and the animals it benefits, filing an amicus curiae brief in support of the city’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

Animal Captivity for Human Entertainment.
More tigers live in cages in this country, than exist in all the wild. They are just some of the millions of wild animals living in captivity across the United States. Some are in aquariums, circuses, theme parks and zoos, others live caged at private homes. But few federal laws protect these animals, who may be forced to perform or kept confined in small cages with little to keep their minds occupied and bodies well.

State laws vary considerably, with some states banning the ownership of wild and exotic animals while others have virtually no regulation whatsoever. Captive animals need better laws, and better enforcement of those laws.

Most states have no laws governing captive wild animals.
 
Wild Animals Should Not Be Kept In Captivity
Private Possession: Many wild animals may be kept captive in private homes as pets. It’s said that Texas has the world’s second-largest tiger population, due to private citizens’ propensity for keeping these big cats as pets. There is no wild animal census in the United States, and many states have lax oversight, so any estimates about the population of wild animals in captivity is at best an educated guess.

We do know that common animals kept as pets include lions, tigers, cougars, ocelots, servals, wolves, bears, alligators, snakes and nonhuman primates like chimpanzees. These are wild animals, who are dangerous by nature and cannot be domesticated. A largely unregulated trend is the hybrid breeding of wild cats with house cats, with predictably disastrous consequences.

It is expensive and difficult to keep wild animals in captivity. These animals oftentimes live in inhumane conditions, and pose a serious threat to public safety.

Trading in Wild Animals: Every year, thousands of animals enter the captive wild animal trade. Some of these animals are “surplus” from roadside zoos. Others are captured from their native habitats, or come from backyard breeders or the black market. These wild animals are sold at auctions, pet stores or over the internet.

The trade in wild animals involves tremendous suffering at every stage of the process.

Despite heightened public awareness, puppy mills continue to plague communities across the nation. The Animal Legal Defense is working across the country to combat puppy mills from multiple legal channels.

The term “puppy mill” generally refers to a large-scale commercial dog-breeding facility where the emphasis is on profits over the welfare of the dogs. The goal of puppy mills is to produce the largest number of puppies as quickly as possible, without consideration of genetic quality or the care of the animals.

While Craigslist officially bans companion animal sales, they continue on the site under the guise of “rehoming.” Meanwhile, sales of animals not typically classified as companions — like pigs and chickens — are permitted, putting these animals in danger.

These laws make it illegal for pet stores to sell dogs and cats (and sometimes additional animals like rabbits) sourced from large-scale commercial breeders, and instead require them to offer animals available for adoption from animal shelters and rescue groups.

 

This video from exposes the truth about online animal sales. Narrated by actress and animal activist, Rooney Mara, Don’t Buy Animals Online illustrates the rampant fraud involved in online sales of puppies and other animals.

The dogs are generally kept in crowded, unsanitary conditions. They often lack good food, clean water, and veterinary care. The mother “breeder” dogs may give birth to multiple litters per year throughout her adult life. They, and aging father dogs, will regularly be abandoned or killed when they are no longer “useful” to their breeders.

 

More than 300 cities and counties, as well as six states — California, Maryland, Maine, Washington, Illinois and New York — have passed such laws since 2011.

Want to take the next step in your animal advocacy? Learn the skills you need to pass laws protecting animals at the local level! Local laws are critical – not only do they help individual animals in your community but they prime the pump for passing similar laws at higher levels of government.

As a result of the breeding practices of puppy mills, it is common for puppy mill dogs to suffer from genetic and hereditary conditions, and deadly diseases. Additionally, many puppy mill dogs experience behavioral and psychological problems throughout their lives from lack of early socialization and being weaned too young.

Laws That Protect Captive Wildlife

Few federal laws protect the millions of wild animals who live in captivity in aquariums, circuses, theme parks and zoos in the U.S.

The Animal Welfare Act: The Animal Welfare Act, or AWA, is the primary piece of federal legislation regulating captive wild animals. Zoos and circuses are among those who fall under this act.

The AWA only applies to some captive wild animals. The law, adopted by Congress in 1966, protects so-called “warm-blooded” animals who are bred for commercial sale, used in research, transported commercially or publicly exhibited, like in a zoo or circus. Tigers, lions, elephants, bears and nonhuman primates are all included in this law. But the law excludes protection for birds, rats and mice, farmed animals and “cold-blooded” animals such as reptiles, amphibians and fish.

This is only one of the Act’s limitations. Its protections are minimal as well. The AWA establishes only baseline standards of care for licensing exhibitors. These standards set a low bar and are widely considered to be sub-par in protecting animals. For example, the law does not restrict the display or private ownership of captive wild animals or prohibit the use of controversial bullhooks, whips, electrical shock or other devices commonly used in circuses. For animals in zoos, the AWA sets low requirements as to housing, food and sanitation, and, as is commonly noted, no requirements for mental stimulation of animals other than primates.

Another serious problem is that the chronically-understaffed USDA conducts inspections infrequently. A common criticism is that the inspectors are often inadequately trained to look for sign of problems such as abuse and neglect.

The Convention On International Trade In Endangered Species Of Wild Fauna And Flora (CITES): CITES is an international treaty that regulates the trade of wildlife for nations that are signatories to the treaty. Some 5,800 species of animals are covered by the treaty (along with 30,000 species of plants). CITES does not directly address living conditions for captive animals.

The U.S. became a signatory to CITES in 1975. Today, nearly every country in the world is a member of CITES. The fewer than two dozen non-participants include North Korea, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Turkmenistan.

This treaty is credited with helping foster international cooperation to protect some endangered and vulnerable species. A criticism is that protections are less robust for species that are economically valuable, and that CITES is not as transparent in its decision-making or enforcement as would be ideal.

The Endangered Species Act: The Endangered Species Act, the ESA, is a federal law that protects fish, mammals, birds and plants listed as threatened or endangered in the U.S. and beyond. The ESA outlines procedures for federal agencies to follow regarding listed species, as well as criminal and civil penalties for violations.

In 2014, the Animal Legal Defense Fund successfully brought a lawsuit under the Endangered Species Act against a roadside zoo called the Cricket Hollow Animal Park, that was mistreating protected animals. This was the first time that the ESA has successfully been used to protect captive wild animals. In 2018, the Eighth Circuit issued a unanimous decision in Cricket Hollow’s appeal of that case, that it can be a violation of the Endangered Species Act when captive animals aren’t given proper care.

In several cases, animals held in poor conditions at roadside zoos have been transferred to sanctuaries, after the Animal Legal Defense Fund brought lawsuits under the Endangered Species Act.

State And Local Laws: Strong state laws and even local laws have historically been a useful way to protect exotic and wild animals. There is considerable variation from state to state and among cities and counties, as to how much legal protection is offered to captive wild animals.

Here are some of the major ways that these jurisdictions are protecting wild captive animals under the law:

Restricting Private Parties From Keeping Wild Animals: Some states ban the keeping of wild and exotic animals. Others allow private parties to keep animals like tigers or primates with a permit. Fewer and fewer states are allowing residents to keep captive wild animals without a permit. There were five such states until 2017, when South Carolina passed a law banning wild and exotic animals to be kept as pets. (This law does not affect zoos or circuses.)

In states without tight enough regulation, local jurisdictions oftentimes adopt ordinances that ban or restrict the display of captive wild animals. Local laws are often most effective in governing the private possession of exotic animals.

Models For Improvement And What You Can Do To Help

With increased awareness about the cruelty involved with keeping wild animals in captivity, more and more jurisdictions are enacting legal protections. These laws help the animals and also people, since wild animals in captivity present a serious public safety risk.

The state and local laws protecting wild animals in captivity are spreading. We have good models of captive wild animal protection laws outside of this country as well.

The United Kingdom, for example, has announced a plan to phase out all circuses featuring wild animal performances by 2020. There are dozens of other countries around the world with similar prohibitions, including Austria, Greece, Israel, Mexico, Peru and Singapore. India bans the keeping of elephants in circuses and zoos.

Your voice is needed, so that captive wild animals in the United States, and elsewhere, are better protected.

  • Visit animal sanctuaries instead of zoos, marine parks or circuses. Boycott businesses that profit from cruelty to animals.
  • Help inform others by writing letters to your local newspapers and posting to social media.
  • Tell lawmakers you support animal-friendly legislation and local bans on using animals in entertainment.

Roadside Zoos

Download the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Roadside Zoo Checklist to document legal violations – then send the completed reports to our legal team for review.

Say No to Roadside Zoos

Roadside zoos dot the American landscape. They’re generally small menageries where wild and exotic animals like lions, tigers, monkeys, wolves, and others are kept in captivity, and often suffer badly. Learn More

Bears, lions, and other animals languish in roadside zoos across the country. Animals live in cruel conditions, confined to small cages without the enrichment they need to lead full, happy lives. Protect animals by boycotting roadside zoos. 

oadside zoos dot the American landscape. They’re generally small menageries where wild animals like lions, tigers, monkeys, wolves, and others are kept in captivity, and often suffer badly.

The animals frequently live in small, dirty cages. They are fed inadequate food, and are denied medical care. They have little in the way of mental stimulation — often, not even the company of other animals, since many roadside zoos keep animals confined alone in their cages. Sometimes roadside zoos also encourage dangerous interactions between animals and visitors, such as bottle feeding tiger cubs.

These facilities continue to operate due to a patchwork of mostly-lax state and federal laws, and lax enforcement of those laws. At the Animal Legal Defense Fund, we use all the legal tools at our disposal to secure more and better protections for animals at roadside zoos.

We secure new legal protections for animals held captive at roadside zoos: In 2018 the Animal Legal Defense Fund scored a major victory for endangered animals living in captivity at roadside zoos. A three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit issued a unanimous decision upholding a district court’s 2016 ruling that Cricket Hollow Animal Park (formerly Cricket Hollow Zoo), a roadside zoo in Manchester, Iowa, violated the Endangered Species Act by providing substandard care for the four tigers and three lemurs who were the subject of the lawsuit.

This ruling is significant for Cricket Hollow’s animals, and sets important precedent that we will use to help many more.

We secure better living conditions for animals held captive at roadside zoos: Our lawsuits often result in the owners of roadside zoos either being ordered to move their animals to sanctuaries, or choosing to do so voluntarily.

We fight for stronger laws, and better enforcement of existing laws: The Animal Welfare Act is the chief federal law that governs roadside zoos. The law itself, as well as its enforcement by the Department of Agriculture, are frequently criticized for allowing roadside zoo operators’ inhumane practices to go unchecked. State laws vary considerably, with some having such lax oversight that the states become known as havens for cruel roadside zoos. TAKE ACTION

Farmed Animals and the Law

There’s an estimated 9 billion land animals raised and killed for food every year in the United States. Many of these animals are subjected to near-unimaginable cruelty — much of which is perfectly legal, under current law.

Despite their vast numbers, and severity of abuse they suffer, farmed animals receive only minimal protections by our legal system.

Farmed animals raised for the meat, dairy, and egg industries are among the most abused in the U.S. Investigations and industry whistleblowers have revealed abuses on farms and in slaughterhouses so horrific, most people cannot even bear to witness them.

Abuse takes place outside the law, but much of the cruelty consists of commonplace, standard industry practices, and in most states legally sanctioned.

There are an estimated 9 billion animals raised and killed for food every year.

These common, cruel practices include:

  • Animals can have their testicles, tails, horns, beaks, or toes removed without anesthesia.
  • In most states, animals are intensively confined in spaces so small they cannot turn around, extend their wings, or lie down comfortably, as in gestation crates, veal crates, and battery cages.
  • Hens are systematically starved in order to artificially restart their egg-laying cycles.
  • Male chicks are ground up alive, and piglets are killed by slamming their heads on the ground.
  • Calves can be taken away from their mothers, mere moments after birth, causing distress for both. Calves raised for veal are so severely confined they cannot turn around or stretch their limbs.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is working to change this. Farmed animals are every bit as capable of feeling pain, and pleasure, as the animals who live inside our homes with us. We are fighting for stronger laws to protect farmed animals, and better enforcement of those laws.

What You Can Do

As long as the law fails to meaningfully protect farmed animals, you can help reduce their suffering by adopting a plant-based diet.

Let lawmakers know that legal protections for all animals are important and that you want stronger legal protections for farmed animals enacted and enforced.

Sign the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Animal Bill of Rights at animalbillofrights.org to let your federal legislators know that all animals deserve basic legal protections that prevent the very worst abuses.

Join the Animal Legal Defense Fund in our work to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. We file cutting-edge lawsuits to fight abuses at factory farms, we work with legislators to strengthen laws protecting farmed animals, we assist prosecutors handling cruelty cases, and we promote the growth of animal law in schools, offices, and courtrooms across the nation.

With your help, we can do even more to ensure all animals are protected by the law.

Donate to Protect Animals

Help animals win the legal protections they so desperately need and deserve, and ensure they have an advocate in courtrooms and legislatures across the country. TAKE ACTION NOW