PETA goes after Gulf Breeze Zoo

PETA has filed formal comments with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) opposing the Gulf Breeze Zoo’s (GBZ) application for a permit to breed endangered animals. PETA points out that captive-bred wildlife permits require licensees to enhance the propagation or survival of the species in the wild—and the facility has failed to give any indication as to how displaying captive animals will enhance wild populations.

According to press release issued by PETA, the zoo has been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for allowing newborn rabbits to be eaten by adult rabbits in a severely crowded enclosure, for maintaining exhibits that were so unsafe that visitors could stick their fingers in the animals’ enclosures, and for failing to provide animals with appropriate veterinary care. It also lacks accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which rejected GBZ in 2006 after finding 38 zoo practices to be “questionable” and 24 more “unacceptable,” including the facility’s failure to have appropriate, secure enclosures.

“The Gulf Breeze Zoo cannot be allowed to breed more animals when it clearly can’t or won’t properly care for the animals it already holds captive,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on the government to stick to the purpose of the Endangered Species Act—and that’s protecting wild animals, not breeding and warehousing them in cruel menageries.”

PETA also notes that the facility’s staff lacks the experience and expertise necessary to run a conservation and breeding program. In 2012, GBZ Director Eric Mogensen’s daughter, who now works at GBZ, was sentenced to jail for cruelty to animals after she drowned an injured wallaby in a plastic bucket and attempted to cover up her crime. A former animal curator testified that Eric Mogensen is “sick and sadistic” for allowing animals to be killed by shooting them, slamming them into walls, and feeding them to other animals.