Feds Ignore 165,000-Plus Appeals for Nosey

Published by Jennifer O'Connor.

The PETA Foundation’s Captive Animal Law Enforcement (CALE) division tackles cruelty to animals used in entertainment at local, state, and federal levels. For example, CALE representatives met with top U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials to make the case to take action in behalf of an aging and likely arthritic elephant named Nosey. Despite abundant evidence that Nosey is suffering, along with the support of more than 165,000 compassionate people, the government officials showed up unprepared to address concerns about Nosey and refused to commit to enforcing the Animal Welfare Act to protect her. Immediately after the meeting, we asked supporters to contact the USDA’s inspector general to condemn the agency’s outrageous lack of response. Video footage shows that Nosey, who is used for rides and forced to perform tricks by Liebel Circus, has been struggling to get around week after week.

Not only is arthritis extremely painful, it can also be deadly for elephants. In fact, experts report that foot and musculoskeletal problems are the leading reasons why captive elephants in the U.S. are euthanized. But Nosey may still have many happy years ahead if she is placed in a reputable sanctuary.

Here are some other recent CALE actions:

  • CALE sent a complaint to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Augusta, Maine, asking the agency to hold Hope Elephants accountable for the death of the facility’s cofounder Dr. James Laurita, who was crushed to death by an 8,000-pound Asian elephant while he was in the animal’s pen. The agency confirmed that it is investigating. Allowing Dr. Laurita to come into direct contact with captive elephants was a fatal mistake. In the protected contact system of managing elephants, ropes, chains, and bullhooks are not used and barriers such as a metal screen, bars, or a restraint chute always separate elephants and handlers.
  • Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has mandated that elephant-care providers at all AZA facilities absolutely minimize the amount of time that elephants and keepers share the same space because of the serious dangers to workers. Direct contact with elephants has resulted in 17 human deaths and more than 135 injuries to humans in the U.S. since 1990.
  • CALE wrote in support of a bylaw prohibiting the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling circuses in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and after the local Kiwanis Club launched an effort to get the Town Council to rescind the bylaw, we posted an action alert for local residents to voice their support of the ban. Seeing the growing tide of opposition to cruel animal acts, the Kiwanis Club conceded. This means that the Cole Bros. Circus, which the club had previously hosted, will have to leave the animals behind or skip the town altogether.

 What You Can Do

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind