STATEMENT FROM ACTING APHIS ADMINISTRATOR KEVIN SHEA REGARDING THE CONFISCATION OF AN ELEPHANT FROM A LEGGETT, TEXAS, FACILITY
August 20, 2009
Today, officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), in conjunction with local and federal law enforcement officials, completed the confiscation of an elephant, known as “Jewel”, by removing her from the Maximus “Tons of Fun” LLC facility in Leggett, Texas, following a thorough investigation into the animal’s care and treatment.
APHIS also removed a second elephant (“Tina”), which the owner of the facility relinquished to the U.S. Department of the Interior.
APHIS takes the protection of animals very seriously. One of our core missions is to enforce the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), which is the federal law that ensures that proper standards of care are met for the humane treatment of animals exhibited to the public. Our veterinarians and animal care inspectors are deeply committed to making sure that exhibited animals receive appropriate care and exhibitors comply with the AWA. When we find that an animal is in a condition of unrelieved suffering, we will confiscate the animal and move it to a new facility to ensure that its care meets AWA requirements.
Jewel and Tina have been safely transported together to the San Diego Zoo, an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. We chose this facility because it will provide Jewel with care that best matches her particular needs, as well as a new enclosure with other elephants on-site.
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