These gerbils nearly drowned at USGE because of a neglected, faulty watering system.
There is breaking news about our investigation into U.S. Global Exotics (USGE), an international animal dealer, and I wanted you to be the first to know. During his seven months working undercover inside the company's Arlington, Texas, warehouse, PETA's investigator documented the daily and often fatal neglect and abuse of tens of thousands of animals. PETA shared with Arlington officials our concerns about cruelty to animals at USGE, and on December 15, 2009, in what was the largest animal seizure in history, more than 26,000 animals were confiscated from this hellish facility.
Now, just months after we released a fraction of our findings from the investigation into USGE, the business has closed down, and the owner—who is wanted on federal charges filed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—is on the run.
USGE had been a major player in the international exotic-pet trade as a multimillion-dollar business that imported and exported millions of animals for eventual resale at pet stores and pet store chains—including PETCO and PetSmart—all over the world. But since the December 2009 raid, not a single animal has been bought or sold by USGE, and the company's facility is empty and up for sale. USGE's license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been canceled.
Coatis like this one were kept in a tiny, filthy birdcage, forced to live on wire so sharp that it injured their feet.
A federal arrest warrant has been issued for Jasen Shaw, USGE's owner, who is under investigation for smuggling, conspiracy, and aiding and abetting—all of which are violations of the Lacey Act, a federal law designed to combat trafficking in illegal wildlife, among other things.
In order to protect the legal integrity of the case, we have been unable to release our full investigative findings—until now. For the first time, we can share the never-before-seen investigation photos, videos, and case facts.
The fact that USGE has gone out of business is a victory for the millions of animals who would have been captured in their native homes in the wild; shipped thousands of miles in cramped crates, pillowcases, boxes, bags, and bottles; and kept in horrific conditions at USGE. But there is still much more that we can do, together, to help the millions of other animals who are still suffering in the pet trade.
Remind your friends and family members never to buy animals from pet stores (warehouses like USGE supply animals to distributors like Rainbow World Exotics and Sun Pet, Ltd., for sale in pet stores), and ask national chains PETCO and PetSmart to stop selling all animals now. You can do even more to help animals who are suffering in the cruel pet trade by making a special gift today.
Thank you for your compassion for all animals.