Great Lakes Medieval Faire Urged to Nix Cruel Elephant Rides

Festival Must Reject Animal Entertainment in Light of Abused Elephant's Rescue, Says PETA

For Immediate Release:
July 5, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Ashtabula, Ohio – This morning, PETA sent a letter to the owner of the Great Lakes Medieval Faire urging him to reject cruel elephant rides. The appeal comes after an arthritic elephant named Nosey—who had been forced to give rides at the fair for years—was seized by authorities from the custody of notorious animal exhibitor Hugo Liebel and sent to live at a reputable sanctuary.

“There’s suffering in every single step taken by an elephant used for human joyrides,” says PETA Foundation Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on the Great Lakes Medieval Faire not to be medieval about animal welfare and to put an end to the archaic spectacle of elephant rides for good.”

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” For more information, please visit

PETA’s letter to Great Lakes Medieval Faire owner Larry Rickard follows.

July 5, 2018

Larry Rickard


Great Lakes Medieval Faire

Dear Mr. Rickard,

I’m writing again on behalf of PETA to urge the Great Lakes Medieval Faire to leave elephant rides out of the upcoming and future fairs. The seizure of Nosey, the arthritic elephant who was forced to give rides at your events in previous years, is an opportunity for you to leave this cruelty where it belongs—in history.

Last year, authorities seized Nosey in Alabama and later filed cruelty charges against her exhibitors. Veterinarians found that she was suffering from arthritis, intestinal parasites, a urinary tract infection, severely overgrown skin, and a multidrug-resistant skin infection—ailments that are all related to her life of suffering on the road.

PETA first alerted you to Nosey’s suffering—particularly her painful, arthritic gait and her chronic skin condition—four years ago. Yet you ignored the video evidence and the warnings of an expert veterinarian and allowed her to be used for rides week after week, for hours on end. This undoubtedly contributed to her chronic ailments. Now that the true extent of her condition is known, we hope you’ll agree never to use an elephant at your fair again.

Captive elephants live under the constant threat of being hit with bullhooks—sharp steel-tipped rods that resemble fireplace pokers. They’re chained in trailers, hauled from one event to the next, and forced to stand in one place—often on concrete—for long periods. They routinely suffer from painful and debilitating joint and foot problems and may sway back and forth endlessly—a symptom of psychological distress.

Please prioritize animal welfare and public safety by joining the Kansas City Renaissance Festival and more than 650 venues nationwide that have committed not to allow elephant rides or other exhibits with wild animals.

Very truly yours,

Rachel Mathews

Deputy Director

Captive Animal Law Enforcement

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you are agreeing to our collection, storage, use, and disclosure of your personal info in accordance with our privacy policy as well as to receiving e-mails from us.

 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