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Updates On Elephants We’ve Been Monitoring

January 4th, 2012 by Nicole Meyer

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Most of the smaller circuses are now in their brief winter break, a good time for an update on some of the elephants we’ve been watching closely this circus season, with your invaluable assistance

NOSEY: After several years of touring with Piccadilly Circus, Nosey’s “owner” Hugo Liebel left the circus after a reported falling out with its owners this spring. Nosey then spent the summer performing several shows a day and giving rides at the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Since CWM closed in September, the Liebels have been reported in a few southeastern states, touring as the Liebling Family Circus, with little advance fanfare. Nosey is still performing and giving rides.

There was good news when the USDA confirmed to IDA in April that there is an active investigation into Animal Welfare Act violations by Liebel. This can result in serious sanctions against Liebel including loss of his license to exhibit. IDA filed numerous complaints leading to that investigation and, with the help of many people, we continue to monitor Nosey, and to focus the USDA’s attention on serious ongoing problems related to veterinary care and handling.

It does not appear that Nosey is getting any respite from circus life, so please keep your eyes and ears open, particularly in the Southeastern states, for appearances by the Liebling Circus or for elephant rides, and contact circuses@idausa.org if you think she’s coming to your town.

DOLLY, LOU, LOVEY AND MAKIA – UNIVERSOUL CIRCUS: The four African elephants touring during the past few seasons with UniverSoul are exhibited by Jorge and Louann Barreda. As in past seasons, IDA this year filed several complaints concerning the condition and the handling of these elephants. In April, the Barredas were cited for inadequate veterinary care due to lack of proper foot care. Foot and joint problems are the leading cause of death for elephants in captivity.

A USDA inspection following an IDA complaint in July found “no noncompliances”. Armed with photographic evidence that, in the opinion of the expert we consulted, demonstrated a lack of appropriate foot care, IDA pressed the USDA to investigate further. This resulted in the issuance of an Official Warning to the Barredas for failure to provide adequate veterinary care. This should mean that heightened attention is being paid by APHIS inspectors; failure to improve their care could well bring about legal sanctions and confiscation (rescue) of these suffering elephants.

WE NEED YOUR HELP: Getting agencies such as the USDA to act to protect elephants in circuses can be an excruciating process, but it can be very effective; frequent monitoring of the elephants’ condition is required. We can’t go to circuses all over the country, but the help of wonderful activists has allowed us to check on elephants in New York, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Illinois and Florida, to name only a few. With more people willing to go to circuses to check on the elephants we can accomplish even more. Please email circuses@idausa.org if a circus is headed your way and you can help.