USDA Urged To Revoke License From Convicted Wildlife Trafficker In Texas

Yesterday, The Animal Legal Defense Fund submitted a complaint urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to investigate and revoke, or refuse to renew, the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) exhibitor license of Jason Clay, who is doing business in Texas under two entities, Franklin Drive Thru Safari and East Texas Zoo & Gator Park.

In December 2023, Clay pleaded guilty to violating the Endangered Species Act for illegally transporting an endangered juvenile chimpanzee across state lines.

In the past two years, Clay has had AWA violations on four separate inspections at his facilities.

  • Inability to ensure that his facilities provide adequate potable water, including in an enclosure containing 23 animals.

  • Neglecting to prevent injuries, such as a pig with long hooves curling upward on their hind feet, which “can lead to discomfort, pain, and crippling in animals.”

  • Inadequate veterinary care resulting in deaths to at least a pygmy hippo and a giraffe, as well as servals with hair loss and an aardvark who was missing the tip of their tail.

  • Failure to maintain structural integrity of enclosures, such as nail heads and screws protruding from wooden surfaces inside the capybara and bird enclosures.

  • Failure to maintain a safe and effective pest control program, resulting in a large amount of flies on and around the feed trough in a petting zoo area containing goats and zebu cattle.

“Jason Clay has made it clear he is incapable of providing animals the bare minimum of care required by the law — and we urge the USDA to revoke his license immediately,” said Animal Legal Defense Fund Litigation Fellow Michael Swistara. “It is unconscionable for a convicted wildlife trafficker to be able to maintain an exhibitor license and continue to operate.”

This is the second complaint filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund with the USDA demanding that Clay’s license be revoked or not renewed. The first was filed in January 2022. In April 2022, the Animal Legal Defense Fund also filed a complaint with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), urging the agency to inspect and appropriately enforce workplace safety laws with regard to Clay in response to ongoing OSHA violations and a resulting animal attack causing substantial injuries to an employee at his East Texas Zoo and Gator Park facility.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

More on this topic

Popular stories

Breaking! Kenya Bans The Slaughter & Export Of Donkeys For Their Skins; Saving The Lives Of Up To 1,000 Animals Per Day

The government of Kenya announced a ban on the slaughter of donkeys after being presented with a petition earlier this week by donkey owners...

Sea Shepherd Attacked On World Wildlife Day By Poachers In Vaquita Refuge

On the morning of March 3rd, World Wildlife Day, Sea Shepherd crews were confronted by a large group of skiffs fishing illegally inside the...

Music Legend Cher, The Co-Founder Of ‘Free The Wild,’ Sends A Letter To The Edmonton Valley Zoo Offering To Help 45-Year-Old Elephant Named Lucy

For the last 40 years, an Asian elephant named Lucy has been living in sub-artic conditions at the Edmonton Valley Zoo in Alberta, Canada. Cher, the...