People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Department of the Interior, Civ. No. 01-2299 (D.D.C. 2001)

Case Summary:

We represented People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Puerto Rico Humane Society, and other plaintiffs in a challenge to the US Fish and Wildlife Service's and the Department of Agriculture's decisions to allow the Suarez Brothers traveling circus to import seven polar bears into the United States and to use them in a traveling circus act. Although polar bears are extremely susceptible to overheating, the Department of Agriculture authorized the circus to keep the bears outdoors in Puerto Rico in small metal cages without pools of water or air conditioning in temperatures exceeding 110 degrees - a decision that drew universal condemnation, including from the US Marine Mammal Commission, the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, and many members of Congress. In response to our lawsuit, the Fish and Wildlife Service seized all seven polar bears from the Circus in November 2002 and relocated them to new homes at AZA accredited zoos in Maryland, North Carolina, Michigan, and Washington State

Plaintiffs: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, The Humae Society of Puerto Rico, The Fund for Animals, and individuals.

Court: United States District Court for the District of Columbia