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Organizers Asked to Shut Down Exhibit Immediately to Prevent Transmission of Disease to Public
For Immediate Release:August 16, 2012
Contact:David Perle 202-483-7382
Kenosha, Wis. -- The PETA Foundation has sent an urgent letter to Linda
McFeters, general manager of the Bristol Renaissance Faire, asking her to cancel the fair's elephant rides
immediately. Topsy, an elephant being used to carry children on her back, was
recently banned from entering Maine because she has tested positive for
tuberculosis (TB) antibodies. In its letter, PETA points out that elephants
with TB can and do transmit the disease to humans—even through indirect
contact. PETA also informs McFeters that in May, Frank Murray, the
exhibitor forcing Topsy to give rides, was arrested by the New Jersey Society
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on a warrant related to
cruelty-to-animals charges. Elephants in circuses and traveling shows are
routinely beaten with bullhooks—weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a
sharp steel hook—from the time they're taken from their mothers as babies.
"If parents knew that Topsy had tested positive for
tuberculosis, they wouldn't let their kids anywhere near this exhibit,"
says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna
Winders. "The fair is risking the public's health and safety, and this
exhibit needs to be sent packing."
PETA has sent a similar letter to Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt, the
state veterinarian and administrator of the Division of Animal Health, and Paul
McGraw, assistant state veterinarian, urging them to step in and shut down the
elephant rides at the fair. That letter is available upon request.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA's letter to Bristol Renaissance Faire General
Manager Linda McFeters follows.
August 16, 2012
Linda McFeters, General ManagerBristol Renaissance Faire12550 120th Ave.Kenosha, WI 53142
Re: TB-Positive Elephant Topsy
Recently Prohibited From Entering Maine
Dear Ms. McFeters:
On behalf of PETA and its more than 3 million members and
supporters and in the interests of animal welfare and public safety, I am
writing to urge you to immediately halt the elephant rides at the Bristol
Renaissance Faire by notorious animal exhibitor Frank Murray, dba
"Elephant Encounters." In June, Murray was prohibited from
taking Topsy the elephant—the very same elephant who is currently giving rides
at the Faire—into the state of Maine after she tested positive for TB antibodies
because of the risk of TB transmission to the public.
Elephants carry the human form of tuberculosis, which is
highly transmissible from elephants to humans and to other elephants, even
without direct contact. As explained in a 2009 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, direct contact with a TB-positive
elephant is not necessary for transmission of the disease to humans. TB
carried by an elephant was linked to an outbreak among nine humans in
Tennessee, some of whom had no direct contact with the elephant. Thus, by
allowing TB-positive Topsy to be used for rides, you are endangering public
In addition, in May, Murray was arrested by the New Jersey
Society for the Protection of Animals on a warrant related to
cruelty-to-animals charges. Murray also has a long history of violating the
federal Animal Welfare Act, including repeatedly failing to provide elephants
with adequate veterinary care.
While I'm sure that you were not aware of this information
when initially allowing Murray to give elephant rides at the fair, now that it
has come to light it is imperative that the rides be immediately canceled to
protect fairgoers from the risk of TB transmission and in the interest of
animal welfare. Failing to cancel the rides would mean disregarding public health
and condoning cruelty to animals.
Thank you for your time and attention to this urgent matter.
Very truly yours,
Delcianna Winders, Director, Captive Animal Law Enforcement
Topsy tested TB-reactive on a highly accurate blood test, but Murray may
misleadingly attempt to convince you that Topsy does not carry TB through the
use of "trunk wash" test results. Please see the attached appendix
for an explanation of why the trunk wash test is regarded as unreliable.
tested TB-reactive on a highly accurate blood test, but Murray may misleadingly
attempt to convince you that Topsy does not carry TB through the use of
"trunk wash" test results. Please see the attached appendix for an
explanation of why the trunk wash test is regarded as unreliable.
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.