Carol Burnett Held Back Tears as She Told Nosey the Elephant’s Story

They broke the mold when they made Carol Burnett. Her legendary, decades-long career in comedy may be best epitomized by her iconic “Tarzan yell.”

Recently, she used her voice to tell the story of Nosey—an elephant who was torn away from her mother as a baby, subjected to abusive training methods, and forced to spend her life giving humans rides and doing tricks as part of a seedy traveling circus.

What began as a narration of Nosey’s miserable life now involves a heartfelt thank-you letter from Carol. Last week, authorities in Lawrence County, Alabama, seized Nosey after finding her chained without shelter. For now, she’s safe at an accredited elephant sanctuary pending a further hearing.

Watch Carol tell Nosey’s heartbreaking story:

Years of being chained and forced to perform dangerous tricks have taken their toll on Nosey, and one of the nation’s leading elephant experts characterized her situation as “the worst, most prolonged, documented example of an uncorrected case of suffering and abuse in an elephant I have ever reviewed.”

Her handler, Hugo Liebel, has been cited nearly 200 times by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act—mostly in relation to his mistreatment of Nosey.

She’s been isolated from the companionship of others of her kind for most of her life—a painful existence for an elephant. In the wild, her species lives in matriarchal herds and females remain by their mother’s side for life.

Nosey is safe for now, but we must help her stay in a reputable sanctuary. She deserves no less.

Opposition to the use of elephants—and all other animals—for entertainment is stronger than ever. In line with evolving public sentiment, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus shut down while animal-free circuses are thriving. With your help, it won’t be long before stories like Nosey’s are a thing of the past.

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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