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Advocates for Lolita & Nosey Use Viral Video to Demand that USDA Enforces Animal Welfare Act

May 18, 2015 by Leave a Comment

The News

Nosey the elephant and Lolita the orca, longtime symbols of the cruelty of animals in entertainment, have also also become symbols of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) failure to enforce the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

Lolita being used as a surfboard; arthritic Nosey gives rides to unsuspecting children

Lolita being used as a surfboard; arthritic Nosey gives rides to unsuspecting children

After years of protests, petitions and lawsuits, activists nationwide are now using a viral video to demand that the USDA liberate Lolita and Nosey on the grounds that the harsh conditions of their captivity violate the AWA.

Nosey, a 30-year old elephant who was captured in Zimbabwe when she was two, has been held captive by the Liebel Family Circus since 1988. In spite of her crippling arthritis and chronic skin disease, Nosey is forced to give rides to paying customers at flea markets and fairs across the country.
Under threat of bullhook, Nosey is forced to give rides in spite of eye infection and arthritis

Under threat of bullhook, Nosey is forced to give rides in spite of her eye infection and arthritis

Advocates claim that the circus owner, Tom Liebel, and his employees have beaten Nosey into submission with bullhooks, a sledge hammer and shovels and that the USDA has cited Liebel nearly 200 times for violations.  In spite of the violations,  abundant evidence of abuse and a veterinary report stating that Nosey is “suffering, permanently disabled and crippled,” the USDA has refused to revoke Liebel’s license to exhibit Nosey and use her for rides.
Violation of AWA

Violation of AWA

Lolita, an orca who was captured off the coast of Washington in 1970, has been held captive in the nation’s smallest whale tank for 45 years. Until 1980, she had an orca companion, Hugo, who reportedly committed suicide by pounding his head against the side of the tank. For the past 35 years, she has been alone, unable to interact with members of her own species or engage in any natural behaviors, such as hunting, diving and swimming in the open water. Her tank is just 20 feet deep.

Lolita at the Miami Seaquarium

Lolita’s captivity at the Miami Seaquarium is not just cruel; it is illegal. Palace Entertainment is violating the AWA in three ways: Lolita’s tank doesn’t meet minimum size requirements; she has no shade to protect her from the sun; and she does not have a killer whale companion.

Lolita is longer than the tank is deep.

Lolita is longer than the tank is deep.

In February, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) designated Lolita as endangered because she was taken from the protected Southern Resident Killer Whale population. This historic decision has provided legal ammunition to the groups that have sued the USDA for renewing Palace’s license in spite of its AWA violations. If the court rules in favor of the advocacy groups, then Lolita could be released to the Puget Sound where she would be rehabilitated in a coastal sanctuary and, if possible, released to her pod. Lolita’s mother, 86, is reported to be alive.

Your Turn

Robin Jewell, the producer of the historic Miracle March for Lolita in January, created a video with advocates around the country asking the USDA to enforce the Animal Welfare Act. Please hold the USDA accountable for its failure to protect Lolita and Nosey by helping to make this video go viral.

Comments via Facebook Comments

  1. Carmen Diaz says:

    Let’s help these animals. They have to be free

  2. Melissa Gonzales says:

    why are people so mean they make money on innocent animals get a real job! Leave the innocent alone!! All you are is a bunch of scumbags!

  3. Candace says:

    I have seen Nosey the elephant in person two times. Once in 2009 and again in 2012. I went with a group of other animal lovers and I was so sickened by her treatment that I literally went back to my car and threw up. It was that hideously disturbing. This poor animal was CLEALRY suffering and in pain. Her front and back legs were shackled, she has no water, no amusement, no nothing. Then some man came and whacked her as hard as he could with a shovel ion the side of her face. The sound of her sudden cry was agonizing.

    I will never, ever forget those 2 scenes and I weep for her continued enslavement.

    1. Beth Locascio says:

      In tears working so hard wrote song doing whatever I can think of it all day long; please God hear all our prayers and free Nosey girl finally I beg of you!. “The lord is my Shepherd I shall not want” please save her and all of them forever and a day

    2. Jennifer Hurlburt says:

      Candace, have you filed a complaint with anyone? Ir would be good to get this on record. CompassionWorks International has a complaint in with the USDA. I hope you will contact them and PETA, ADI, with your eyewitness account.

    3. Sharon says:

      I cannot stop thinking about your comment. Had me in tears two or three times today. The more I read about this the sadder I become. Why would anyone smack her in the head with a shovel. How cruel indeed. Got my crying again.

  4. Beth Locascio says:

    This is wonderful and thank you so much for writing and teaching awareness this is do important actually the most important issue in the world today. We should worship precious animals they run circles around us; lets join forces and save them all before mother nature kills us for not behaving very well! Look around doesn’t take rocket science does it just s heart and soul! Amen and on and on ❤

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