Skip to content

For Immediate Release:
January 5, 2004

Lisa Wathne 757-622-7382, ext. 1329
David Perle 757-622-7382, ext. 1410


Investigation of Amarillo Menagerie Reveals Animals Living and Dying in Filth

Austin, Texas – What happens to chimpanzees once they become too old to “perform” in movies like the remake of Planet of the Apes? A recent PETA investigation into the Amarillo Wildlife Refuge (AWR) reveals that some of these animal stars end up stuck in filthy breeding menageries, which masquerade as sanctuaries in order to pull in donations from an unsuspecting public. Today, PETA is filing a formal complaint with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, urging him to seek a decree revoking the nonprofit status of the AWR on various grounds, including that it engages in deceptive trade practices, misrepresenting both its facility and the animals it keeps in squalor while playing on people’s good intentions.

At its news conference tomorrow, PETA will reveal shocking video footage showing a terrified primate mother being shot with a tranquilizer dart so that AWR employees can take away her beloved newborn baby for use in photo ops; intelligent chimpanzees forced to live in a dark, barren, concrete pit; and big cats and other animals confined to small cages filled with their own waste interspersed with piles of rotten food swarming with flies and covered in maggots:

Date: Tuesday, January 6
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Place: Days Inn North Central Austin

PETA’s investigator also exposed the following abysmal conditions:

  • Some primates found dead in their cages and others suffering from raw, bloody, infected wounds and self-mutilation
  • A tick-infested tiger cub with green nasal discharge and painful blisters on his footpads, who was repeatedly denied veterinary treatment
  • Failure to provide veterinary care to scores of dying rabbits suffering from everything from broken bones and head injuries to eye infections and heat stress
  • Falsification of records required by the USDA
  • Children placed in danger during a photo shoot with tigers

“While the owner of this facility lives in the lap of luxury, with a fancy home, private plane, and luxury car, the animals live and die in filth, denied even the most basic necessities,” says PETA Director Debbie Leahy. “AWR is more a hellhole than a sanctuary-it should have its nonprofit privileges revoked for inflicting unmitigated misery on animals and making a mockery of well-intentioned people.”

Take Action Now!