A federal judge has provisionally suspended the embargoes applied against the Onça-Pintada Institute (IOP), fined in June by Ibama for the death of animals living in the breeding center and for exposing the animals kept there —the owners of the breeding center are active on social networks and usually appear in direct contact with wild beings.
The Court, which did not rule on the merits of Ibama’s assessments, took into account possible risks to wildlife with the maintenance of embargoes because the site cannot receive or treat new animals.
The institute was fined for killing 72 wild animals and exposing wild animals. The three fines received by the institute in June amount to R$452,500. Before that, the entity had already been fined in 2020, at R$ 1,500, for mistreatment – using pepper spray – against an ounce.
According to the magistrate, there is such a risk “either because of the impossibility of receiving new animals, or because of the mandatory transfer of animals already in custody”.
Judge Marcelo Albernaz, from the Federal Regional Court of the 1st Region (TRF1), states in the records that new animals that may need foster care would not have “access to the entire corps of biologists and veterinarians”, which would prevent “eventual treatment and possible recovery “. A possible need to transfer the animals under the care of the breeding site was also taken into account.
The preliminary injunction was issued after an appeal filed by the IOP against an unfavorable decision it received at the 9th Federal Civil Court of the Federal District.
The institute has been contesting the fines received. He states, for example, that Ibama did not carry out a face-to-face inspection at the site. In their defense, the IOP lawyers also say that the animals are not displayed, considering that there is no public reception (apart from the caregivers). By law, breeders cannot receive visitors.
The federal judge pointed out, however, that this is not a decision on the possible environmental damage pointed out by Ibama. He also mentions that, at this moment, “the conduct of IOP managers/employees who posted photos on social networks, in a situation of interaction between wild fauna animals with animals of other species and with domestic animals” is being discussed.
“Finally, despite the disapproval of promoting the interaction of animals that should not interact, I understand that the embargo measure would seem much more burdensome to the animals of the IOP”, says the magistrate, about the possible risks of maintaining the applied embargo by IBAMA.
Some issues, however, are briefly mentioned in the decision. The IOP, for example, has been questioning the validity of Ibama’s role in the case. The judge states that Ibama has the authority to file infraction and embargo notices in cases such as the Onça-Pintada Institute, until a state agency certifies the regularity of the property.
But, in the case of the IOP, there would have been no omission by Semad (State Secretariat for the Environment and Sustainable Development of Goiás). The judge also states that the secretariat authorized the site to operate and that it visited each enclosure and inspected the animals, “stating that the facilities that house the animals were satisfactory.” Albernaz cites three inspection reports, the last being from 2022.
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