Sen. Lesniak Calls On Authorities to Prevent Elephant Abuse at State Fair

PETA Points to Public Endangerment, Inhumane Treatment in Appeal to Revoke Hugo Liebel's Permit to Perform

For Immediate Release:
July 13, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

Sussex, N.J. – Following reports of dangerous activity by notoriously cruel animal exhibitor Hugo Liebel at the Crescent Shrine Circus in Burlington, New Jersey, and prompted by PETA, New Jersey Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak sent a letter (available here) to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Fish & Wildlife Division calling on it to revoke the permit issued to Liebel that allows him to exhibit Nosey the elephant at the New Jersey State Fair—both for safety’s sake and because Nosey suffers from painful lameness and is showing signs of arthritis.

While permits require that at least two handlers accompany elephants outside holding areas, visitors at the Crescent Shrine Circus from June 26 to 29 saw Nosey being ridden by children while accompanied by only one handler—Liebel’s teenage daughter. Nosey previously sent an individual to the hospital with a head injury after lifting him up with her tusk and tossing him to the ground.

“The New Jersey State Fair should be a celebration of everything our state has to offer and animal abuse doesn’t belong on that list,” writes Sen. Lesniak. “Our state’s exotic animal regulations are intended to prevent exactly this kind of abuse and public endangerment. I call upon you to investigate and reconsider the permit for Nosey.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to entertainment”—notes that Liebel’s history of violating the federal Animal Welfare Act includes chaining Nosey so tightly that she could barely move and repeatedly denying her adequate veterinary care. After observing Nosey in person and reviewing decades’ worth of federal records, elephant expert and veterinarian Dr. Philip Ensley called Nosey’s case “the worst, most prolonged, documented example of an uncorrected case of suffering and abuse in an elephant I have ever reviewed.”

This isn’t Sen. Lesniak’s first action to help elephants: He also sponsored the first law in the U.S. to ban the sale of ivory.

Note: PETA supports animal rights and opposes all forms of animal exploitation and educates the public on those issues. PETA does not directly or indirectly participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office or any political party.

For more information, please visit

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