Feds Terminate Elephant Abuser’s License

Nosey Owner’s License Loss Follows PETA Action, Cruelty Charges, and Seizure of the Famous, Long-Suffering Elephant

For Immediate Release:
October 14, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

Davenport, Fla.

Following numerous requests from PETA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has just revoked the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) license of notorious elephant exhibitor Hugo Liebel, who spent decades using Nosey, an ailing elephant, for rides and circus shows. Without a license, Liebel may not exhibit animals such as Nosey.

In his decision, the USDA administrative law judge concluded that allowing Liebel to hold a license would be “contrary” to the AWA’s “purpose of ensuring humane treatment of animals” because of Liebel’s failure to care for Nosey properly. The elephant was seized by Lawrence County, Alabama, authorities in 2017 after she was found swaying and standing in her own waste, without adequate water or food, in Liebel’s dark, cramped trailer, and she was later placed at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

“After decades of forcing Nosey the elephant to give rides even as her bones ached, Hugo Liebel is out of the animal-exhibition business,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “Fifteen years after launching the campaign for Nosey’s freedom, PETA is celebrating her safe and secure retirement in the expert care of a lush sanctuary.”

When Nosey arrived at the sanctuary, veterinarians found that she was malnourished and dehydrated; her scaly, overgrown skin was infected; she had a urinary tract infection and intestinal parasites; she had painful arthritis; and her muscles were atrophied. After less than two years at the sanctuary, Nosey is now thriving: She has expert veterinary care, a vast habitat to roam, and the opportunity to wallow in mud, take dust baths, browse leaves and bark, and more.

Since launching the campaign on Nosey’s behalf in 2004, PETA has persuaded venues not to host Liebel’s act, persuaded authorities to bar his appearances, worked with elephant experts, engaged members of Congress, and obtained celebrity support in favor of her release to a sanctuary.

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.

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