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July 31st, 2015
Grijalva Urges USDA to Reevaluate Circus Elephant Exhibiting Signs of Long-Term Abuse

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) today led 31 Members of Congress in sending a letter to Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging the USDA to reevaluate Nosey, an African circus elephant that has reportedly undergone long-term abuse. The USDA evaluated Nosey on November 7, 2014 and January 17, 2015, and reported no findings of lameness or abnormalities that would interfere with normal function.

However, the lawmakers’ letter points out discrepancies between USDA and independent review by veterinarian Dr. Philip Ensley, who “argued that the USDA failed in its evaluations to recognize and report arthritis and progressive osteoarthritis, often referred to as degenerative joint disease. In site visits through 2015, [Ensley] found Nosey to be in an ‘expressionless, dazed stupor…and in a state of mental numbness or psychological deterioration’ and found evidence of foot and musculoskeletal problems, among other health issues.”

“The detainment and reported abuse of Nosey the Elephant is as much a moral issue as it is a legal one,” Rep. Grijalva said. “Nosey’s owner has received nearly 200 animal welfare violation citations, yet he still holds a license. Some independent examiners have even labeled this elephant’s suffering as the worst they’ve ever reviewed. The USDA must enforce the Animal Welfare Act to its fullest degree, not only out of legal obligation, but out of decency and kindness to this living, breathing creature that deserves better than a lifetime of abuse and neglect.”

Full text of Rep. Grijalva’s letter is available here.


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