For Immediate Release:
November 9, 2015
David Perle 202-483-7382
PETA Foundation Counsel Rachel Mathews released the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) failure to protect elephants and the public from the threat of tuberculosis, as reported by Reuters:
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its intention to step up monitoring and testing for tuberculosis (TB), which is highly transmissible between elephants and humans, even without direct contact. Despite this promise, along with a 2009 TB outbreak in Tennessee as well as recent measures in Dallas and Michigan that barred elephants with UniverSoul Circus from performances because of the threat of TB, the USDA recently announced that it will not act to protect elephants and humans from the spread of this disease, which now kills more people worldwide than HIV. Instead, the USDA is allowing circuses to police themselves and voluntarily test the elephants they profit from for this deadly disease. Since TB-positive elephants have been confirmed at Ringling Bros., which fought hard against disease-control measures that would cut into its bottom line, PETA is warning audience members, arena workers, and the public at large that if a circus with elephants is in town, TB may be a threat.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—has filed a lawsuit against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for withholding records related to the prevalence of TB among elephants in the U.S. More information is available on our website here.