PETA Rallies Supporters to Demand That Lumberjack Festival Nix Elephant Rides

Protest Planned if Abusive and Repeatedly Fined Exhibitor Is Permitted to Use Neglected Elephant at Weekend Event

For Immediate Release:
June 28, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382

Wolverine, Mich. — PETA has posted an action alert on its popular website asking visitors to contact the organizers of the Wolverine Lumberjack Festival immediately and urge them to cancel the scheduled elephant rides. The exhibitor offering the rides, Hugo Liebel of the notorious Liebel Family Circus, has been repeatedly cited—and fined—by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for denying adequate veterinary care to Nosey (aka “Tiny” and “Peanut”), the elephant who will be forced to carry fairgoers on her back. In addition to denying Nosey adequate veterinary care, Liebel has also been cited for other violations, including allowing unsupervised public contact with Nosey, who attacked and sent a worker to the emergency room in 2004.

In the event that fair organizers don’t cancel the elephant rides, PETA has coordinated a volunteer-led protest outside the festival from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

“No matter how many times he gets caught, Hugo Liebel continues to thumb his nose at animal welfare and public safety,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “If the Lumberjack Festival hosts his cruel outfit, it will virtually be underwriting animal abuse and public endangerment.”

Liebel was recently ordered to pay a $7,500 penalty to settle nearly three dozen charges of violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, most of them related to his mistreatment of Nosey. These charges included repeatedly chaining her so tightly that she could barely move and denying her necessary veterinary care. Despite a growing collection of federal violations, Liebel continues to deny Nosey the care that she needs—instead transporting her all over the country and forcing her to give rides. Even though elephants are highly social animals, Nosey has lived alone for 14 years. According to USDA records, Liebel has also failed to treat her chronic skin condition adequately over a 20-year period.

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