No Elephant in Gainesville After PETA Appeal

Circus Performances in City Will Not Include Lame and Arthritic Elephant

For Immediate Release:
November 4, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Gainesville, Texas – After learning from PETA that elephant exhibitor Hugo Liebel—who has racked up nearly 200 citations for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA)—forces a suffering elephant named Nosey to perform despite her evident painful lameness and arthritis, the city of Gainesville refused to grant a permit that would have allowed Liebel to exhibit Nosey with the Family Fun Circus, which is scheduled to perform in the city today.

“By refusing to allow Hugo Liebel to force Nosey to perform, the city of Gainesville has taken a stand against cruelty to animals, and PETA applauds city officials for doing so,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA’s motto reads, in part, that ‘animals are not ours to use for entertainment,’ and the suffering that this arthritic elephant endures every time this man drags her in front of an audience shows why.”

Liebel’s history of violating the AWA includes chaining Nosey so tightly that she could barely move and repeatedly denying her adequate veterinary care. After reviewing 20 years’ worth of federal documents related to Nosey as well as a decade’s worth of photographs, an independent veterinarian and elephant expert called Nosey’s case “the worst, most prolonged, documented example of an uncorrected case of suffering and abuse in an elephant I have ever reviewed.”

Despite this, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has failed to take action in Nosey’s behalf, and Liebel continues to exhibit her across the country. Newsroom actor Olivia Munn recently penned a scathing letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and True Blood‘s Kristin Bauer van Straten called the USDA about the agency’s failure to help Nosey. Earlier this year, both the Bourbonnais Friendship Festival in Illinois and the Buy For Less supermarket chain in Oklahoma also canceled a scheduled appearances by Liebel.

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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