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The HSUS Applauds U.S. Agencies for Removing Elephants from Dire Conditions

The Humane Society of the United States

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, issued the following statement in response to news that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service removed two elephants from the Maximus "Tons of Fun" facility in Leggett, Texas.

"The Humane Society of the United States applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S Department of the Interior for the removal of two elephants, Jewel and Tina, from dire conditions at a Texas-based animal exhibitor. We are grateful to the agencies for taking animal welfare seriously, and for stepping up their oversight on behalf of performing elephants.

"The physical and behavioral needs of elephants simply cannot be met in traveling exhibits, where they are confined for long periods of time and forced to perform unnatural behaviors. Because of their sheer size and strength, they also pose a danger to people when they are on display."

Facts

  • A USDA inspection in June 2009 found that Jewel "appears to be grossly underweight." Jewel lost 740 pounds from May 2008 to April 2009 and Tina lost 640 pounds over that period.
  • In November 2008, an elephant, Ned, was confiscated from a Florida circus trainer. He was thought to be underweight by a ton. He lived his last few months at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee and died in May 2009.
  • Eight elephants from the Hawthorn Corporation, an Illinois circus operator, were moved in 2006 to The Elephant Sanctuary and two were moved in 2007 to the Performing Animal Welfare Society in California.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animalsthrough advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.