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Shopping and Entertainment Complex Tells Notorious Elephant Exhibitor to Pack His Trunk
For Immediate Release:July 9, 2010
Contact:Lisa Wathne 757-622-7382
Mackinaw City, Mich. -- For asking elephant exhibitor Hugo Tomi Liebel to leave the premises and deciding not to host exotic-animal displays ever again, entertainment complex Mackinaw Crossings has won a Compassionate Business Award from PETA. Sarah Grant, manager of Mackinaw Crossings, decided to stop elephant rides at the complex after receiving information from PETA about the child safety risks and animal welfare concerns associated with such exhibits. She asked Liebel, who has a long history of violating the federal Animal Welfare Act, to leave the premises and pledged not to book any animal acts in the future. Mackinaw Crossings will receive a framed certificate and a bouquet of flowers.
"PETA commends Mackinaw Crossings for knowing that compassion for animals and good business go hand in hand," says PETA Director Debbie Leahy. "Judging by their sheer size, elephants might seem invincible, but when they are beaten into submission, chained day after day, and hauled from location to location in cramped and stuffy trucks, they live in fear, pain, and misery and become ticking time bombs."
PETA points out that Liebel paid almost $3,000 in fines to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2005 and that he has been cited repeatedly by the agency for failure to provide veterinary care; failure to provide a sufficient safety barrier between an elephant and the public; leaving an elephant unattended or under the control of a child; and failure to provide animals with proper food, shelter, and adequate space. The elephant Liebel used to give rides at Mackinaw Crossings had formerly attacked a handler, sending him to the hospital with a head injury.
In an affidavit obtained by the USDA from a Liebel employee, the worker recounted the frequent use of electric prods on an elephant and an incident in which the trainer "used the bullhook handle, turned off the lights in the performance ring and beat an elephant. He at the time directed others to take part in that by using other objects such as sledge hammer and shovel handles. At that time the elephant was staked down by all four legs...."
For more information, please visit PETA.org.
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