Will Feds Terminate Notorious Elephant Abuser’s License?

PETA Submits Request After Cruelty Charges Filed Against Hugo Liebel, Elephant Seized and Placed at Sanctuary

For Immediate Release:
January 8, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Davenport, Fla. – Today, PETA filed a request urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to terminate notorious elephant exhibitor Hugo Liebel’s federal exhibitor’s license before it’s up for renewal on January 30 on several grounds, including that Liebel—who was recently charged with cruelty to animals related to his neglect and mistreatment of Nosey the elephant—is unfit to be licensed.

Local authorities in Lawrence County, Alabama, seized Nosey from Liebel in November and placed her at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee pending a final order from a Lawrence County district court judge. PETA’s request to the USDA cites testimony given at a December 15 hearing in Lawrence County District Court that Nosey arrived at the sanctuary suffering from numerous grave, painful, and chronic health problems, none of which Liebel or his attending veterinarian had apparently properly diagnosed or treated.

“For decades, Hugo Liebel dragged this ailing elephant from town to town and forced her to give rides as he ignored her declining health,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “This man isn’t fit to hold a federal exhibitor’s license, and PETA is calling on authorities to strip him of it without delay.”

Trial testimony showed that Nosey arrived at the sanctuary suffering from a long-standing condition of overgrown, scaly, dry, and cracked skin called hyperkeratosis, as well as a bacterial skin infection, a urinary tract infection, intestinal parasites, osteoarthritis, and muscle atrophy. She also appeared to have a nearly empty gastrointestinal tract and showed signs of dehydration.

PETA’s request notes that Liebel has given false statements to the USDA and other government agencies, including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which denied renewal of Liebel’s permit to possess Nosey in his home state on those grounds.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.”

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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