City Desk

More Trouble for Living Classrooms Foundation?


There may be more trouble coming for the D.C.-based office of the education provider Living Classrooms Foundation. The nonprofit, which uses live animals (about 12-15) to teach kids about caring for the planet, recently came under the scrutiny of the Washington Humane Society when one of its workers showed up seeking to have 12 animal carcasses cremated.

Now, an employee of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Lisa Wathne, tells City Desk via email "that the organization apparently does not have a license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is required in order to display animals to the public."  Living Classrooms, says Wathne, has apparently been violating federal law.

Wathne claims that, after inquiring with the USDA about the foundation, an assistant regional director for the federal agency told her in writing:"This facility is not in our database so it is not licensed. I'm going to enter this as a complaint in our complaint log and have an inspector go out and look into this."

Counters John Dillow of Living Classrooms: "We do have a USDA permit for the required animals." But asked for a copy, Dillow replies via email that he's been "advised to give no further comment until our conversation with Humane Society have been complete."

A message from David Sacks of the USDA backs up PETA's claim: "Living Classrooms is not licensed as an exhibitor with USDA. We will be sending an inspector to the facility to let the owners know that they must either 1) apply for a USDA exhibitor license, or 2) stop exhibiting their animals."

The USDA requires the license so it can enforce standards of animal care.

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  • Rick Mangus

    'Living Classrooms'!, they should change it to the, dying classrooms!

  • Erin

    I spent several months working at Discovery Creek and before that I have spent several years around animals. The creatures at Discovery Creek were treated with respect (aside from maybe the feeding crickets.) Not only that, but the counselors worked hard to instill that same respect in their campers. This is a great program that promotes a understanding and appreciation of nature and all it's creatures.

  • Tony

    PETA is against any kind of use of animals to teach children. They're inventing charges to try and slander 'Living Classrooms'...and organization that treats its animals with respect and kindness. Guess what PETA, sometimes animals die. Stop your witch hunt and allow 'Living Classrooms' to continue the good work they've always done. They reach out to under privileged kids and try to inspire them to learn more about science and our environment. It's God's work.