Image Source: Stock.Xchng

Image Source: Stock.Xchng

PETA: An organization that promotes the ethical treatment of animals—or is it?

Over the years, PETA has faced a lot of complaints, controversy and lawsuits that would strongly suggest they are not quite the animal lovers they claim to be and it would seem that they’ve found themselves in the hot seat yet again. U.S. Global Exotics—a company that specializes in global delivery of exotic animals—has taken PETA to court in an attempt to regain custody of more than 26,000 animals seized by the city on December 15th.

PETA suspected that US Global Exotics were mistreating the animals in their care, and so they sent one of their own in to investigate. Howard Goldman applied for a job as a snake caretaker with the exotic animal supplier. However, what the company didn’t know at the time was Goldman was being paid $135 for every day he sent any information to PETA that showed how the animals were mistreated.

The funny thing about sending information in is it can be quite hard to do when there’s nothing available; no evidence to speak of. Lance Evans, an attorney for the owners of US Global Exotics, claims that Goldman could have done more to provide food, water and care for the very animals he [Goldman] claimed were being mistreated; but instead he spent more time taking photos and sending daily reports to PETA than doing the work he was hired to do, which (funnily enough) involved the care of animals.

Evans also stated that “he was more concerned about helping PETA achieve its goal of putting US Global out of business than actually aiding any animals that he felt were in distress.”

The president of PETA, Ingrid Newkirk, has a different take on the matter, claiming Goldman did all he could to help the animals, plus accusing US Global Exotics of trying “to pin the blame for a litany of horrors on the one person who actually cared about the animals.”

A raid done by Arlington officials did certainly come up with some nasty evidence of mistreated animals: starving snakes, hundreds of reptiles packed in crates and rodents that had killed and eaten each other. The question is: who is really to blame for this?

Goldman claims that anywhere between 1,500 and 3,000 snakes were in his care and that he did everything he could for them, but that the owners would not pay for food, medical or other supplies he requested.

“We never had the proper amount of food. The snakes would go two or three weeks without even being offered food. There were days I found hundreds of snakes dead.”

Evans, however, counters these claims and asked Goldman why he did not follow a posted list of duties and let the snakes go for weeks without food or water or clean cages. Paul Boiko, another US Global employee also backs this up, testifying that most animals were fed and watered regularly, not to mention that a veterinarian visited them every week. He also explained that some animals were not fed before being packaged to avoid shipping problems; and also that certain reptiles were kept in cold conditions to force hibernation so they wouldn’t eat or move much, as a standard practice in the industry.

Did Goldman intentionally not follow the animal care procedures in order to provide PETA with information? Or did US Global owners really ignore his requests for adequate amounts of supplies? A ruling is expected to come out later this week to determine who the animal custody will be granted to.