PETA Calls On Florida Strawberry Farm To Nix Rides On Abused Elephant

Notorious Exhibitor Scheduled to Appear at Oak Haven Farms & Winery Has Extensive History of Abusing and Neglecting Elephant

For Immediate Release:
February 14, 2014

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Sorrento, Fla. – Despite having learned from PETA that elephant exhibitor Hugo Liebel has faced almost three dozen charges for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), Oak Haven Farms & Winery still plans to host Liebel and allow him to provide rides on an ailing elephant named Nosey this weekend. In response, PETA has posted an action alert on its popular website asking visitors to urge Oak Haven to cancel Liebel’s appearance, and the group’s supporters plan to protest the elephant rides if the farm goes forward with Liebel’s appearance.

As PETA pointed out in a letter to Oak Haven, a board-certified veterinarian with decades of experience working with elephants and other exotic animals reviewed 20 years’ worth of U.S. Department of Agriculture documents related to Nosey as well as a decade’s worth of photographs and concluded that she has “undergone long term suffering and abuse.” Liebel’s extensive history of violating the AWA includes chaining Nosey so tightly that she could barely move and repeatedly denying her adequate veterinary care for a painful chronic skin condition.

“If Oak Haven hosts Hugo Liebel’s cruel act, it will virtually be endorsing animal abuse,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “PETA has repeatedly called on the government to confiscate and retire this abused elephant—and we call on all kind people to refuse to support any and all elephant rides.”

PETA has also pointed to the risk to public safety represented by hosting elephant rides and especially allowing children to ride on the back of Nosey, who previously attacked a Liebel employee, hitting him with her tusk and lifting him off his feet. The worker was rushed to the hospital and received stitches for a head injury, but Liebel has continued to allow unsupervised public contact with Nosey.

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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