Congress Member Calls Out USDA for Epic Elephant Fail

Published by Jennifer O'Connor.

Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva—the ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources—was joined by 31 other members of Congress to demand that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) take action to help the ailing elephant Nosey, who is still being dragged around the country by Hugo Liebel even though she apparently has serious health problems.

Despite overwhelming evidence that Nosey is visibly suffering, USDA officials brazenly tried to brush off the Congress member—in other words, it was business as usual. Rep. Grijalva fired off a strongly worded response calling the agency out for its “hands-off” veterinary-care policy, including for failing to have an independent person assess the quality and appropriateness of the veterinary care being provided to Nosey.

“[The USDA has] chronically failed to enforce the Animal Welfare Act … effectively, in part because of a broken penalty scheme that rewards settlement and fails to deter future violations.”

—U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva

After seeing Nosey and evaluating her, Dr. Philip K. Ensley, a veterinarian with more than 30 years’ experience with captive and wild exotic animals, also went to bat for Nosey this month by calling for the USDA to reevaluate her treatment. He had previously met with the USDA in 2014. Dr. Ensley repeatedly warned the agency that Nosey is displaying signs of arthritis, which is one of the leading reasons why captive elephants are euthanized. He warned that Nosey is in critical condition and should be confiscated, given immediate veterinary care, and relocated to a facility that can provide for her special needs. Dr. Ensley called Nosey’s case the “worst, most prolonged documented example of unalleviated suffering and abuse in an elephant” that he has ever reviewed.

What You Can Do

Please urge your members of Congress to hold the USDA accountable.

Note: PETA supports animal rights, opposes all forms of animal exploitation, and educates the public on those issues. PETA does not directly or indirectly participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office or any political party.

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