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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 20 June 2009 Issue

Death Of Elephant Ned Reinforces IDA's Demand For Action

Death Highlights USDA Failure To Protect Captive Elephants And Enforce Federal Law - Other Abused Elephants Are In Jeopardy

We are deeply saddened to report that the elephant Ned, who was confiscated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in November 2008 and sent to The Elephant Sanctuary thanks to the diligence of IDA, has passed away. Ned's sad life was filled with abuse and suffering, but in his last six months he finally experienced love, caring and trust.

Despite the sanctuary's heroic efforts to heal Ned, his body appears to have been too damaged from his years of abuse. Only 21 years old, Ned left us far too soon. Amazingly, he died just 12 hours after the passing of Bunny, another of the sanctuaryís elephants and the first to die from natural causes related to old age.

Nedís passing is a tragic reminder of the inaction of the USDA, which waited until Ned was at death's door before confiscating him. Our staff will work hard in Ned's memory to force the USDA to fulfill its mandate to uphold our nation's animal welfare laws before it is too late for Tina, Jewel, Queenie, Val and other elephants who are victims of abuse at the hands of the circus and zoo industries.

Read more about Nedís passing below.

1) Email Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and demand that his agency start to enforce the Animal Welfare Act to protect elephants. The USDA must start by confiscating Jewel, Tina and Queenie and send them to an elephant sanctuary.

We are not including a prepared letter for you on this alert, as we want your letters to be unique and from the heart. Please tell the Secretary in your own words how you feel about the USDA's slowness in protecting elephants in trouble.

Please copy your letter to your U.S. Senators and Representative. You can find their contact information by entering your zip code here.

2) Join IDA's Elephant Task Force and stay up-to-date with news you can use to help elephants in captivity.

Here is our news release on the death of Ned for you to use to help compose your e-mail:

Washington, DC - The tragic death of Ned, a 21-year old male elephant at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, may have been prevented had the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) not waited until the elephant was at death's door to confiscate him from an abusive trainer, the animal protection organization In Defense of Animals (IDA) charged today.

"Similar inaction by the USDA, charged with enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), is jeopardizing the lives of other captive elephants," said IDA President Elliot M. Katz, DVM. Currently at risk is an emaciated elephant named Jewel, who continues to travel and perform in circuses despite her debilitated condition, her handler's chronic violations of animal welfare law and her possible infection with the human form of tuberculosis.

"Ned had an absolutely tragic life and the USDA knew about his life-threatening situation almost a year before it acted to confiscate him," said Dr. Katz. "Despite The Elephant Sanctuary's heroic efforts, it was too late for Ned. How many more elephants have to die before the USDA starts fulfilling its legal responsibility to enforce our nation's animal welfare law?"

The USDA confiscated Ned in November 2008 after complaints by IDA and others about his emaciated appearance prompted the first agency inspection in ten months, despite prior findings that Ned was extremely underweight. Nedís trainer, Lance Kollman, had been ordered to keep regular records of Nedís weight, but nobody from the USDA ever followed up to note that he was failing to do so. This was despite investigations dating to 2000 into the care Kollman provided to animals, prompted by the sudden and unexplained death of his familyís previous elephant. At the time of his confiscation, Ned was noted to be at least a ton underweight.

Other elephants whom the USDA has jeopardized due to inaction include:

Tina, Jewel and Queenie, who remain in the hands of a trainer who has repeatedly abused and failed to properly care for them. Despite chronic AWA violations, the USDA has refused to revoke the trainer's license. All three elephants remain on the road and are losing weight, two for the second time in as many years. Jewel is shockingly emaciated, ill and frail in appearance.

Dehli was found by the USDA in 2002 to be "in a serious health emergencyĒ after sustaining severe chemical burns to both front legs. (Her "owner" had used undiluted formaldehyde to soak her feet causing both of her front legs to be swollen to twice their normal size). It took a full 20 months after this finding for the USDA to take action to remove the critically injured elephant from her abuser and send her to The Elephant Sanctuary.

In 2001, the USDA found that Lota was losing weight. By the time she reached the Sanctuary in November of 2004, she was so ill from tuberculosis that she only lived another 2 ? months.
Just last week, IDA wrote to the Secretary of Agriculture demanding that the agency confiscate Tina, Jewel and Queenie. There has been no reply, and the elephants remain unprotected by the federal agency empowered to save them. Despite the fact that in 2006 IDA filed a citizenís petition with the USDA to compel the agency to enforce the AWA at zoos and circuses, where elephants are suffering from inadequate care, the USDAís negligent enforcement of the AWA continues.

In Defense of Animals, located in San Rafael, Calif., is an international animal protection organization with more than 85,000 members and supporters dedicated to ending the abuse and exploitation of animals by protecting their rights and welfare. IDA's efforts include educational events, cruelty investigations, boycotts, grassroots activism, and hands-on rescue through our sanctuaries in Mississippi, Mumbai, India, and Cameroon, Africa.

In Defense of Animals is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We welcome your feedback and appreciate your donations. Please join today! All donations to IDA are tax-deductible.

Baby elephants performing: dangerously young!

In Defense of Animals
3010 Kerner, San Rafael, CA 94901
Tel. (415) 448-0048 Fax (415) 454-1031
[email protected] .

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Please send comments and submittals to the Editor: Linda Beane [email protected]

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