New Hope for Traveling Elephants?

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New Hope for Traveling Elephants?

From In Defense of Animals (IDA)

USDA Creates Special Monitoring Team

IDA applauds the USDA for the formation of this special team, which brings hope that elephants in traveling shows will be more closely watched and their exhibitors held accountable for following AWA requirements. However, IDA will continue to closely monitor these elephants, file complaints when violations are discovered, and take any action necessary to protect their health and welfare.

IDA has been loudly critical of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) weak inspection and enforcement actions regarding elephants in traveling shows. And thousands of our supporters have repeatedly expressed outrage over the agency’s failure to protect elephants who have been routinely subjected to abuse, neglect and life-threatening conditions.

We are pleased to report that the USDA has received the message loud and clear that elephants need greater protection. The agency recently announced the formation of a special team of veterinarians to inspect traveling elephant exhibitors throughout the country. This is an important step toward improving the agency’s ability to regulate exhibitors and to identify health and welfare problems earlier.

According to the USDA, the elephant inspection team has the experience and skills needed to monitor the care and handling of traveling elephants. The agency expects that the team will allow for more inspections, quicker response to complaints, and the heightened ability to identify - and, presumably, act on – violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

The team's ability to quickly, efficiently, and productively conduct compliance inspections should improve efforts to hold exhibitors accountable for following AWA requirements.

IDA applauds the USDA for the formation of this special team, which brings hope that elephants in traveling shows will be more closely watched and their exhibitors held accountable for following AWA requirements. However, IDA will continue to closely monitor these elephants, file complaints when violations are discovered, and take any action necessary to protect their health and welfare.

Read the USDA announcement here: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/downloads/stakeholder/stakeholder_09_01_2010.pdf.