Elephant’s Plight Warrants Quick Action Ahead of Circus Show

Agri-Business Center Must Learn From Nosey the Elephant's Suffering and Confiscation, Watch Shocking Video, Make Loomis Bros. Performances Animal-Free

For Immediate Release:
January 29, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Oneonta, Ala. – This morning, PETA sent a letter urging Blount County-Oneonta Agri-Business Center to bar the Loomis Bros. Circus from exploiting elephants, tigers, and other animals by using bullhooks (a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker), whips, and domination in its upcoming performances at the center.

PETA is asking the center to think of Nosey, the elephant who captured Alabamans’ hearts when authorities in Lawrence County seized her from a traveling circus. She was dehydrated, underfed, and afflicted with infections and arthritis but had still been forced to perform because the circus and her veterinarian ignored her suffering—and that same veterinarian is still working for Loomis Bros.’ longtime elephant exhibitor, who was caught on video striking an elephant and repeatedly whipping a tiger.

“Just like Nosey, the elephants used by Loomis Bros. are kept chained, dragged from town to town, and beaten into performing tricks,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “Ringling has gone out of business, Nosey is in a sanctuary, and Blount County-Oneonta Agri-Business Center should ensure that this circus uses only human performers, not cruel animal acts.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Blount County-Oneonta Agri-Business Center Chair Jeff Hallmark follows.

January 29, 2020

Jeff Hallmark

Chairman, Blount County-Oneonta Agri-Business Center

Dear Mr. Hallmark,

I’m writing on behalf of PETA and its more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide to urge the Blount County-Oneonta Agri-Business Center to exercise compassion by barring the Loomis Bros. Circus from exploiting elephants, tigers, and other animals at its upcoming performances.

About two years ago, an ailing elephant named Nosey captured Alabamans’ hearts when authorities in Lawrence County seized her from a cruel traveling circus. Veterinarians at the sanctuary that accepted her found that she was suffering from arthritis and infection. She was dehydrated and underfed, and her muscles were weak. Many of her ailments had existed for years, yet the circus perpetually shackled her in chains, trucked her across the country, and forced her to give rides and perform tricks under the threat of punishment. Those in positions of power—the circus, authorities, venues, and her own veterinarian—ignored her suffering.

You can take a stand for animals like Nosey by ensuring that Loomis Bros. performs without any at your venue. Brian Franzen, who usually provides the animal acts, has a well-documented history of cruelty. Federal regulators disciplined him when a trainer was caught beating an elephant in the face with a bullhook (a weapon so cruel it’s been banned in two states and many cities). He was also filmed striking an elephant named Megu in the jaw with a bullhook onstage, jabbing an elephant with a prod during rides, and whipping a tiger in the face.

Franzen uses the same veterinarian who allowed Nosey to perform and never properly diagnosed or treated her painful arthritis and other diseases. Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited Franzen for failing to notice that Megu had an abnormal gait and cracking joints. His vet was also apparently unaware of her condition. Yet—like Nosey—Megu’s gait problems have been evident and ignored for years, even after an expert wrote that forcing her to perform in circus shows was causing her “undue and unnecessary physical distress.”

The circus should be fun for everyone, but it’s torture for the tiger forced to jump through fire and the elephant forced to balance on a ball. When animals are used as props for entertainment, their well-being will always be sacrificed. PETA urges you, as a community leader, to promote kindness by ensuring that the Loomis Bros. shows at your venue are animal-free. Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Rachel Mathews, Esq.

Deputy Director | Captive Animal Law Enforcement

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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