USDA Files Charges Against Cole Brothers Circus Concerning Elephants Tina And Jewel
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM

 In Defense of Animals (IDA)

This USDA action is extremely important because it means that even though the Cole Brothers Circus does not have an exhibitor’s license, the USDA is still holding it responsible. This should lead to the end of circuses using animal acts under the licenses of other exhibitors as a way to shield themselves from responsibility for the care and treatment of those animals.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has filed formal charges against the Cole Brothers Circus for multiple violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), including those involving the elephants Tina and Jewel (pictured above with Queenie). As a result of IDA’s work on behalf of these elephants, the circus now should be held responsible for the horrendous conditions under which Tina and Jewel were held.

Thanks to you, the USDA received thousands of emails, letters, faxes and phone calls urging them to take action against this circus, and your calls have resulted in action. Remember this next time you wonder if your calls and letters do any good.

This USDA action is extremely important because it means that even though the Cole Brothers Circus does not have an exhibitor’s license, the USDA is still holding it responsible. This should lead to the end of circuses using animal acts under the licenses of other exhibitors as a way to shield themselves from responsibility for the care and treatment of those animals.

Alleged violations that involved Tina and Jewel include:

  • Failure to provide veterinary care to an emaciated elephant (Jewel, pictured at right with Tina);
  • Failure to establish and maintain programs of veterinary care for both Tina and Jewel, or to employ personnel adequately trained and capable of caring for them;
  • Failure to handle both elephants as carefully as possible by transferring them to a handler that lacked the expertise, skill and training to care for them.
    IDA also brought to the USDA’s attention violations regarding tigers that resulted in charges, including employment of a handler who lacked adequate training, knowledge and experience in handling dangerous wild animals.

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The USDA must close the "loophole" that allows circuses to escape responsibility for animal welfare and safety by holding Cole Brothers and other circuses responsible for AWA violations at their circuses. (The elephant exhibitor with the Cole Brothers Circus has been cited for serious safety issues that put the animals and the public at risk; the circus should bear responsibility for these violations as well.) With your help, IDA will continue to monitor performing elephants, report violations, and ensure that the USDA holds circuses accountable for the welfare of the animals they use.
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