PETA Statement: CDC Study Finds Seven Human Beings Have Contracted Tuberculosis From Elephants at Oregon Zoo—Implications of Negligence in Dropping Testing Requirement

For Immediate Release:
January 8, 2016

David Perle 202--483-7382

PETA Foundation’s Rachel Mathews released the following statement in response to the new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reported that seven humans have contracted tuberculosis from captive elephants at the Oregon Zoo:

The newly released study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms what PETA has said for years—that the risk to human health posed by captive elephants is serious. Of the seven documented cases of people contracting tuberculosis—considered the world’s most deadly disease—from elephants held at the Oregon Zoo, one individual had spent only one cumulative hour in the elephant barn. While the study concludes that “improved TB screening methods for elephants are needed to prevent exposure of human contacts,” it also follows efforts from the CDC to keep documents related to the risk of elephant tuberculosis under wraps, the subject of a recent PETA lawsuit, which just days ago prompted the CDC to agree to release extensive records. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has also failed zoo workers, circus workers, and the public by announcing late last year—without any scientific or other justification—that it will no longer require tuberculosis testing and treatment for elephants as part of its requirements for veterinary care under the Animal Welfare Act. People concerned about their own health as well as the elephants’ should stay far away from circuses, elephant rides, and any other cash-grabbing stunts still featuring elephants.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—has more information about this subject at

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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