Williams County Fair to Feature Elephant Whom Veterinarian Says Is Lame

Notorious Exhibitor's History of Animal Welfare Violations and Public Endangerment Could Place Children at Risk, PETA Warns

For Immediate Release:
September 5, 2014

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Montpelier, Ohio – PETA has sent an urgent letter calling on the Williams County Fair to cancel plans to host elephant exhibitor Hugo Liebel, who—despite racking up nearly 200 citations for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA)—is scheduled to provide dangerous rides on a suffering elephant named Nosey starting this weekend.

A board-certified zoo veterinarian with decades of experience working with elephants personally observed Nosey last month and reports that the elephant requires immediate veterinary care for painful lameness and arthritis. Liebel’s history of violating the AWA includes chaining Nosey so tightly that she could barely move and denying her adequate veterinary care. After reviewing 20 years’ worth of federal documents related to Nosey as well as a decade’s worth of photographs, the veterinarian has 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.”

“If the Williams County Fair hires Hugo Liebel’s cruel act, it will be endorsing animal abuse,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA, whose motto states, in part, that ‘animals are not ours to use for entertainment,’ is calling on all kind people to refuse to support elephant rides.”

There is also a risk involved in allowing children to ride on Nosey’s back, as she has previously attacked a Liebel employee, hitting him with her tusk and lifting him off his feet. The worker was rushed to the hospital and received stitches for a head injury, but Liebel has continued to allow unsupervised public contact with Nosey—including at last year’s Williams County Fair, when Liebel left Nosey with his young son, who allowed the elephant to wander off (video available here).

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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