Sign the Petition to

Phyllis K. Fong

Phyllis K. Fong
USDA Inspector

I am writing to request that you demand accountability from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials charged with enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) who have ignored abundant evidence that Nosey, an elephant exhibited by Hugo Liebel (license number 58-C-0288), is suffering from critical health problems. This elephant's suffering is caused and worsened by Liebel's apparent violations of the AWA--clear grounds for the USDA to confiscate her and revoke Liebel's exhibitor's license.

Multiple experts agree that Nosey is suffering and showing signs of crippling arthritis, which, along with foot problems, is the leading reason why captive elephants are euthanized. The disease is aggravated when elephants are forced to stand amid their own waste or on wet and muddy substrate, are forced to perform tricks, are subjected to elevated stress levels, or are denied proper exercise. Nosey has endured conditions such as these for decades, and now she is clearly suffering the life-threatening consequences.

Outrageously, the USDA has indicated that it is solely up to the veterinarian hired by Liebel to decide whether Nosey is fit to travel and perform. But the AWA clearly tasks the agency with these responsibilities, strictly prohibiting the exhibition of animals when doing so isn't consistent with their health and well-being and requiring the provision of adequate and appropriate veterinary care. The USDA must be held accountable for this total abdication.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is fully aware of Nosey's declining health but has chosen to ignore it. The USDA must revoke Liebel's license, confiscate Nosey, and send her to a reputable sanctuary. Her life depends on it.

Signed,

PETA: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

This petition closed almost 3 years ago

How this will help

Week after week after week, PETA has documented Hugo and Franciszka Liebel forcing Nosey the elephant to give rides and perform grueling tricks even though she is hobbled by pain and soreness. Acco...

Week after week after week, PETA has documented Hugo and Franciszka Liebel forcing Nosey the elephant to give rides and perform grueling tricks even though she is hobbled by pain and soreness. According to our veterinary consultant, who knows elephants inside and out, Nosey is showing signs of crippling arthritis, yet the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has refused to take her off the road.

On September 29, PETA representatives met with USDA officials—including the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's administrator, Kevin Shea, and its deputy administrator of animal care, Dr. Chester Gipson—to demand that the agency take Nosey and other crippled elephants off the road. These high-level agency officials showed up unprepared to address concerns about Nosey, admitted that they are—despite all the documentation, materials, and complaints submitted by PETA—unfamiliar with Nosey's situation, and refused to commit to enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to protect her.

Prior to the meeting, the USDA had heard from more than 160,000 compassionate people demanding that the agency take action for Nosey. And PETA submitted documentation of her condition to the USDA well in advance, including the opinion of an elephant veterinarian with decades of experience who observed Nosey and concluded that she "undoubtedly suffers from advanced arthritis and degenerative joint disease, resulting in ongoing pain, and most likely permanently impaired limb function." The USDA's response? It is "not [the agency's] job" to physically examine animals. Nosey needs you now. Please join PETA today and let the USDA's inspector general know that the agency is abdicating its responsibilities. Demand that the agency confiscate Nosey, send her to a reputable sanctuary, and revoke Hugo Liebel's exhibitor's license.

PETA has documented Hugo and Franciszka Liebel forcing Nosey the elephant to give rides and perform grueling tricks even though she is hobbled by pain and soreness. According to our veterinary consultant, who knows elephants inside and out, Nosey is showing signs of crippling arthritis, yet the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has refused to take her off the road.

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