It's not often People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is praised. The organization, which advocates vegetarianism, recently helped shut down an exotic pet store in Texas where the animals were poorly handled.
PETA does not dissapoint when it launches a campaign. It appears that the organization specializes in raising controversy, as this summer's Save the Whales campaign demonstrates. PETA is also known for making dramatic statements to get its point across to the public. But this week, PETA is being feted for its diligence, which has resulted in a raid which has shut down an exotic pet import-export business based in Arlington, Texas.
PETA has gone undercover before, most recently in November, where the organization exposed a company called Wild Creations and its Frog-O-Spheres, which are sold exclusively through Brookstone in the United States. However, after PETA filed a complaint with police, an investigation did not verify PETA's claims that the frogs were mistreated. The police finding has not deterred PETA from it's campaign against Frog-O-Spheres, which it claims are inhumane because the containers are too small and do not provide shelter for the frogs.
But PETA doesn't always get things wrong. After one of its members worked undercover, arming authorities with solid documentation of abuse, the organization is being praised for saving over 26,000 exotic animals from an animal wholesaler delivery outfit. The raid and the rescue of the thousands of animals was largely due to the result of the work of an veterinary technician who worked for U.S. Global Exotics for seven months, documenting the treatment of the animals with photographs, video footage and notes.
U.S. Global Exotics, based in Arlington, Texas, was raided on Tuesday. Investigators found starving rodents who were cannibalizing each other, at least 100 dead animals and found that the company had not provided appropriate housing for the thousands of animals it kept. It has been reported that thousands of the animals animals were dying, although this has not yet been verified by authorites. A wide range of animals were found at the Arlington premises. Arachnids, reptiles, crustaceans and mammals were found, from spiders to sloths. Documents and computers were also seized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department. It is not known how many animals had to be euthenized.
One New Zealand man was arrested in conjunction with the raid on U.S. Global Exotics. Jasen Shaw is the President and founder of U.S. Global Exotics. The company is co-owned by Vanessa Shaw, who is married to Jasen Shaw.
U.S. Global Exotics bought and sold exotic animals, shipping the creatures all around the world. A number of businesses are established in North America buying and selling exotic animal species. U.S. Global Exotics shut down its website after the raid.
The seizure is the largest in U.S. history. Three agencies are working together to care for the animals: SPCA of Texas, Arlington Animal Services and the Humane Society of North Texas. The seizure comes at a time when animal shelters have higher numbers of animals to care for.
Peta advocates against purchasing exotic animals as pets, saying the practice is harmful to the animals.