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Urge the USDA to Adopt Vital Elephant Health Regulation

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Originally Posted: April 2, 2012

Urge the USDA to Adopt Vital Elephant Health Regulation

FROM People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)


Tell APHIS and USDA to adopt updated United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) guidelines for the control of tuberculosis in elephants without further delay. TB-positive elephants are currently crisscrossing the country and being forced to perform in circuses despite their fragile health and the very real risks of transmission to humans and other elephants.

Tom Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
phone (202) 720-3631
fax (202) 720-2166
[email protected]
Dr. Chester Gipson
Deputy Administrator, Animal Care
4700 River Road, Unit 84
Riverdale, MD 20737-1234
phone (301) 734-7833
fax (301) 734-4978
[email protected]

Gregory Parham, D.V.M.
4700 River Road, Unit 84
Riverdale, MD 20737-1234
[email protected] 


Suggested subject line: Please Adopt Updated USAHA Guidelines for the Control of Tuberculosis in Elephants Without Further Delay

Suggested letter:

I am writing to urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to adopt the United States Animal Health Association's (USAHA) 2010 Guidelines for the Control of Tuberculosis in Elephants without further delay to protect both animal and human health.

When the USAHA recommended increased precautions regarding elephants with tuberculosis (TB), I imagined that they would be quickly adopted by the USDA as it is your agency's responsibility to implement new regulations in the best interest of animals. Indeed, according to a November 2010 USAHA resolution, the USDA expressed its intent to adopt the updated standards. Yet more than a year has passed, and the USDA has taken no action, even as numerous elephants known to carry a form of TB that is highly transmissible to humans are currently crisscrossing the country and performing with circuses.

I am extremely concerned that the USDA is underwriting the abuse of animals afflicted with this potentially fatal disease, accepting the known risk of transmission from elephants to humans even without direct contact, and endangering the health of both the public and other animals.

As experts have recognized, stress influences both susceptibility to TB and its severity once infection is established. Thus, keeping elephants in cramped, filthy transport vehicles with poor ventilation for often days at a time while chained, as circuses routinely do, can increase the risk of TB transmission astronomically.

I strongly urge the USDA to immediately adopt the 2010 recommendations made by the USAHA Elephant Tuberculosis Subcommittee. It is crucial for the health of both humans and animals to restrict the travel of and quarantine animals who have been exposed to and/or tested reactive for TB. The time has come for the USDA to take proactive steps to prevent the spread of TB and to protect the welfare of elephants suffering from the disease.

Thank you for your attention to this serious issue. May I please hear back from you that you are adopting these regulations soon?


Thank you for everything you do for animals!