Suggested subject line: Please Adopt Updated USAHA Guidelines for the
Control of Tuberculosis in Elephants Without Further Delay
letter: I am writing to urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to adopt the United States Animal
Health Association's (USAHA) 2010 Guidelines for the Control of Tuberculosis in
Elephants without further delay to protect both animal and human health.
When the USAHA recommended increased precautions regarding elephants with tuberculosis
(TB), I imagined that they would be quickly adopted by the USDA as it is your
agency's responsibility to implement new regulations in the best interest of
animals. Indeed, according to a November 2010 USAHA resolution, the USDA
expressed its intent to adopt the updated standards. Yet more than a year has
passed, and the USDA has taken no action, even as numerous elephants known to
carry a form of TB that is highly transmissible to humans are currently crisscrossing
the country and performing with circuses.
I am extremely concerned that the
USDA is underwriting the abuse of animals afflicted with this potentially fatal
disease, accepting the known risk of transmission from elephants to humans even
without direct contact, and endangering the health of both the public and other
As experts have recognized, stress influences both susceptibility to TB
and its severity once infection is established.
Thus, keeping elephants in cramped, filthy transport vehicles with poor
ventilation for often days at a time while chained, as circuses routinely do,
can increase the risk of TB transmission astronomically.
I strongly urge the USDA to immediately adopt the 2010
recommendations made by the USAHA Elephant Tuberculosis Subcommittee. It is crucial
for the health of both humans and animals to restrict the travel of and
quarantine animals who have been exposed to and/or tested reactive for TB. The
time has come for the USDA to take proactive steps to prevent the spread of TB
and to protect the welfare of elephants suffering from the disease.
Thank you for your attention to this serious issue. May I
please hear back from you that you are adopting these regulations soon?
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.