One of my first blog posts was about Nosey, the elephant. Today, four years later, I am grateful and immensely happy to share with you that this one elephant is finally in a safe sanctuary, will never be exploited again.
Many, many people worked together for this happy ending – hopefully it will be the beginning of the end of animal exploitation in entertainment.
“23. JAN. 2018 — A Lawrence County, Alabama judge has ruled today that Nosey the elephant will be able to stay in true sanctuary at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. A case against Nosey’s notorious owners, the Liebel Family Circus, was heard on December 15, 2017, and Judge Angela Terry has ruled that Nosey will remain at the Sanctuary PERMANENTLY!
SAVE NOSEY NOW has worked since 2013 for this day, chasing this small family circus from town to town all over the country, never giving up on Nosey for one day. We pushed hard at the USDA who was charged with upholding the Animal Welfare Act by promoting call-in actions, tweetstorms, letter writing campaigns, and a formal march on their Washington, DC site in June 2015. We also dug deep into the patterns of abuse by this small family circus and pushed hard against the Florida Wildlife Commission who repeatedly rubberstamped the permit for this abusive family to keep and use Nosey. Our work involved research into many state and city animal laws as Nosey was hauled around the country from state to state, city to city, day to day, month to month, year to year. We were successful in shutting down venues in many locations as the entities were educated about the true life of Nosey the elephant.
We have run into many obstacles along the way to Nosey’s freedom, but the powers aligned in the little town of Moulton, Alabama on a fateful day in November, 2017 where Nosey was spotted by some very brave local women. These women saw a wrong and decided to fix it. Googling Nosey, Save Nosey Now was found, and we were able to provide assistance to the local officials throughout the proceedings with documents, pictures and videos to strengthen the case against the circus owners. Contacting the law enforcement division of PETA, more resources were on the way to Alabama. Save Nosey Now was pleased to be a part of the bench trial in Lawrence County, Alabama, and to provide assistance wherever needed.
We thank the good people of Alabama for their perseverance and follow through. We thank our supporters who have always believed that this day would come for Nosey, and we thank all the other organizations who worked hard for Nosey for many years.”
For those who have never had the chance to pet a cow or see her of him run happily over a meadow, the following insights might seem a bit exaggerated. Once you get to learn more about these sentient beings you will hopefully never want to eat them (or even take away their milk). This is from the Farm Santuary’s blog:
“Cows have a secret mental life in which they bear grudges, nurture friendships, and become excited over intellectual challenges…” — The Sunday Times (UK)
Goats are merry pranksters, chickens and turkeys are inquisitive and always exploring, pigs are the brains of the operation, and cattle are the farm’s deeply social and most contemplative residents.
Cows interact with one another in complex ways, forming collaborative relationships (for example, they form “grooming partnerships,” just like chimpanzees)1, learning from one another, and making decisions based on altruism and compassion2. Sunday Times science editor Jonathan Leake explains that “cows have a secret mental life in which they bear grudges, nurture friendships, and become excited over intellectual challenges…”3
As a researcher at Moulton College in the UK, Krista McLennan has documented the fact that cattle form deep friendships and strong family bonds. Like humans, when cattle “have their preferred partner with them, their stress levels in terms of their heart rates are reduced compared with if they are with a random individual.”4
Because of their complex social lives, they are also quite intelligent. Professor Donald Broom from Cambridge University explains: “[S]ocial animals such as cattle…need substantial intellectual ability in order to cope with their complex social life.”5 As another indication of their intelligence, cows have great memories. Professor Joe Stookey from the University of Saskatchewan explains that cattle “demonstrate good spatial memory (they remember where things are located). … They can remember migration routes, watering holes, shelter, and the location of their newborn calf.”6 Other researchers report that cows remember the best spots in a pasture for grazing.7
They are also good problem solvers. Professor Broom explains that when cows solve problems, “[t]heir brainwaves showed their excitement; their heartbeat went up, and some even jumped into the air. We called it their Eureka moment.”8 Explains Guardian science reporter Laura Spinney, “The evidence that they are capable of learning associations suggests brains that are…aware of what has happened in the past and of acting on it in the future.”9
Tim Sell, chair of the UK’s National Farmers Union explains: “They are all individuals and all have their own characteristics. They are tremendously curious. They have emotional storms. When it is a miserable, cold day, they will all be miserable, but when it is nice and sunny, you can almost see them smiling.”10
Dr. John Webster echoes Sell’s comments: “You only have to watch how cows and lambs both seek and enjoy pleasure when they lie with their heads raised to the sun on a perfect English summer’s day. Just like humans.”11 And, as Dr. Temple Grandin explains, “When big old huge dairy cows are let out in the spring, after spending the whole winter cooped up in the barn, man, they just jump around all over the fields like little calves. It’s the same feeling young animals have when they play.”12
Meet Cinci and Sonny
Farm Sanctuary’s Susie Coston reflects: “Cinci holds a special place in our hearts here at Farm Sanctuary. She leapt a six-foot fence at a slaughterhouse near Cincinnati (hence her name) and hid out in a park for 10 days before she was finally caught by the local SPCA. As you can imagine, she was incredible and very smart. Farmers said she was dangerous — that she was probably culled from a breeding herd because she was nuts, and she would likely kill someone, but she was nothing but respectful to us.
Well, except this one time. We were attempting to have her hooves trimmed with the other cattle. The trimmer came with his chute and set up. We got to Cinnci, and she slammed the trimmer to the ground, turned, and took out two gates and a slider door in a matter of about 30 seconds. Then she jumped the fence. When the trimmer drove away, she returned to the herd. From that point on, when she heard his truck — which clanks with metal — she would jump the fences and stay far away until he left, and then she would again return to the herd.
Her death was also incredible — there was a huge respect for her in the herd and also an obvious awareness of her fear of people and their protectiveness of her during her final month or so. I really miss her so much.”
Sonny is a male calf who was born into the dairy industry. His owner brought him to the stockyard as a weak and injured newborn for a quick sale for veal or cheap beef. Today, Sonny is a rambunctious boy. He’s playful, confident, and maybe just a little bit spoiled from the round-the-clock care he received from Farm Sanctuary caregivers after his rescue. He was found just after his birth in a filthy stall, too weak to stand, his umbilical cord torn from his belly leaving a badly infected wound. Sonny never knew his mother or nursed from her, so he lacked the rich colostrum that was critical for his health and immunity. But with bottle-feeding, blood transfusions, and lots and lots of attention, the baby boy has grown into an irrepressible youngster.
You’ll usually find him looking for fun — or trouble — with his buddies, Conrad and Orlando. In the early morning, the boys moo and protest until someone finally comes with their food. Sonny checks in with his pig friends, Sebastian and Eric, only to be nipped on the nose. He tests the gates, hoping for a chance to sneak into places he shouldn’t be, then settles in for a day of fun with Conrad and Orlando. These overgrown boys spend their days together playing, complaining, napping, and playing some more. Always curious and ever testing his limits, Sonny finds a visitor’s camera bag and tosses it in the air and generally makes a nuisance of himself until one of his beloved caretakers relents and gives him a good old scratch on the neck. He still struggles with minor health issues from his rough start, but that doesn’t stop this boy from kicking up his heels in pure delight.
After more than 50 long years chained near the popular tourist spots Shri Bhavani Museum and Yamai Devi temple in Aundh, Satara, Gajraj has finally been rescued from his chains. This old elephant, whose appalling treatment sparked a global #FreeGajraj campaign led by PETA India and its international affiliates, is on his way now to the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre (ECCC) in Mathura – a collaborative project of PETA India, Wildlife SOS, and the Uttar Pradesh Forest and Wildlife Department – to receive vital veterinary treatment and begin his integration into the company of fellow elephants after all these years alone. He was rescued by the Maharashtra Forest Department today and is being accompanied to the ECCC by an expert veterinary team. PETA arranged for the Wildlife SOS elephant-care centre to take him in, a collaboration, and PETA has paid for his new home and other costs.
The Humane Society of the United States has agreed with the New York Blood Center to provide the chimpanzees with the care needed:
The crux of the agreement announced today stipulates that the NYBC and The HSUS are effectively splitting costs for long-term care of the chimpanzees, which will include day-to-day care and also the construction of improved sanctuary facilities. Photo by Carol Guzy/For The HSUS
Today, The HSUS announces a major, multi-million-dollar agreement with the New York Blood Center (NYBC) concerning more than 60 chimpanzees formerly used by the NYBC in medical experiments in Liberia. The New York-based medical charity has committed $6 million to The HSUS to help with the decades-long task of providing long-term care for the animals. This morning’s joint announcement signals a critical turnaround in The HSUS’s relationship with the NYBC. Most importantly, it provides financial resources for the careful stewardship of these chimpanzees, who deserve every measure of human mercy after the travails they’ve endured.
In 2015, The HSUS and Humane Society International responded to an emergent crisis and began to care for the chimpanzees on a set of estuarine islands in Liberia with insufficient natural food and water resources. Dedicated individuals took it upon themselves to provide enough food and water for the chimpanzees to survive in the first days, but the circumstance required the intervention of a party that had the staying power to provide daily care to the animals. With the support of the Liberian government and more than 35 animal protection and conservation organizations worldwide, The HSUS stepped in, bringing on many of the chimps’ long-term caregivers to provide boots on the ground for the animals. We’ve been there ever since, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars a month. We have a staff of more than 30 people operating the facility, led by great ape specialists Dr. Jim Desmond and Jenny Desmond, as well as John Zeonyuway and Joseph Thomas, who have worked with the chimpanzees in Liberia for decades.
To care for these animals, we had to confront some extreme logistical, security, and personnel challenges, in addition to shouldering responsibility for the immense financial liabilities that this intervention required. In the broadest sense, we were mindful that chimpanzees are long-lived, and our response to this crisis essentially obligated us to a 40-year commitment and millions of dollars to provide proper housing, enrichment, and veterinary care for them.
The crux of the agreement announced today stipulates that the NYBC and The HSUS are effectively splitting costs for long-term care of the chimpanzees, which will include day-to-day care and also the construction of improved sanctuary facilities. The HSUS and HSI will take on responsibility for the lifetime care of the chimpanzees and will seek support from our supporters and others to help raise the remainder of the needed funds.
I am pleased to express my thanks to the NYBC for making this very generous and important commitment. I’d be remiss, too, if I did not offer our sincerest expression of gratitude to thousands of individuals and dozens of organizations whose generosity and kindness allowed us to help the chimps for the past two years, providing a bridge to an even more secure future with the new facilities we intend to build. This project has required an ensemble cast, and I offer additional earnest appreciation to the government of Liberia, the Arcus Foundation, Dr. Jane Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute, Duke University scientist Brian Hare, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, actors and animal advocates Kate and Rooney Mara, the American Anti-Vivisection Society, and the Liberia Animal Welfare and Conservation Society. And the most important thanks are reserved for our incredible chimpanzee care team on the ground.
The HSUS and HSI plan to work hand in hand with the government of Liberia in the years ahead, and that partnership will be critical given that the chimps have been through very difficult circumstances and need round-the-clock care.
The additional millions we must raise are still a very substantial financial burden we must bear, but we do so knowing of the steadfast resolve and commitment of our supporters. We intend to start building an endowment for the care of these chimps today, rather than leaving the task to future generations of leaders and other supporters of The HSUS. I hope you’ll join us in celebrating the HSUS-NYBC agreement and adding to the $6 million endowment by making a donation to this Liberian chimp fund online at: www.humanesociety.org/liberiasanctuary or www.humanesociety.org/liberiachimps.
Sadly, this “title” would probably still fit many small zoos and animal parks in the world. Luckily for the animals at the Gaza Zoo, the animal welfare organization Four Paws has started rescue efforts, but there still is much work to do.
“Dear animal friends,
FOUR PAWS has returned to the Gaza Strip.
Over the last few days, a FOUR PAWS team has been helping the desperate, suffering animals at the Khan Younis Zoo, described by some media outlets as “the worst zoo in the world”.
There are still several animals living at the zoo, including Laziz, the last remaining captive tiger in Gaza, along with monkeys, birds, emu, deer, turtles and a couple of porcupines, all of which are still sadly living in very poor conditions.
Thanks to the support of generous people like you, FOUR PAWS has been able to provide much-needed food to the undernourished animals, which has led to visible improvements in the health of the animals, including Laziz the tiger.
In addition to providing food, we were able to check on all of the remaining animals, provide veterinary treatment, and even relocate some of the animals to larger enclosures, including a pelican, the two porcupines and some turtles.
Even though our team was only permitted to stay for a limited time in Gaza, we’ve met with the responsible people on site and we will continue helping beyond our departure.
We are still working to find a permanent solution for the animals in Gaza, and we will continue to keep you updated on the situation.”
“P.S. We are 100% funded by voluntary donations. Your gift today means we can do more!”
Friends just returned from a trip to Thailand, sending me a picture of them with two tigers. They unknowingly had been lured into a typical tourist trap. The tigers were being held in a place that claimed to be a “sanctuary”, but in reality cubs of many different species are torn from their mothers, confined into tiny cages and only taken out for photo sessions with tourists. Once they grow too old or become too dangerous to handle, “acting up” despite severe punishment they are sent off to farms for canned hunting.
“Do you remember Cecil, the beloved lion who was illegally lured from a Zimbabwe park and painfully killed with a bow and arrow last summer? Unfortunately, despite the public outrage of this sad and very unnecessary death, thousands of other lions continue to suffer at the hands of the tourism industry today.
World Animal Protection has investigated the lives of captive lions in Africa and were appalled by what we found. We are desperately trying to help these lions, but they need your help too.
What We Found
Lion cubs bred in captivity are ripped from their mothers at less than a month old. At just a few weeks old, cubs will begin to be handled by tourists for pictures, often roughly, causing them chronic stress and sometimes injury. Any aggressive behavior they display is punished using fear and pain. Tourists are even instructed to hit the lions if they act unruly. When they are not being handled, they are kept in small concrete enclosures and fed inadequately.
A group of lions in a facility in South Africa. These lions will likely be euthanized or sold for canned hunting.
As the cubs grow into lions, they will become too dangerous for these tourist parks. No longer profitable as toys for tourists, the lions might be euthanized or sold to farms for “canned hunting.” Canned hunting uses whatever means necessary to ensure a kill, including drugging the lions or luring them with meat. The area is enclosed so the lions cannot escape. They do not stand a chance at survival.”
Sadly, this happens all around the world, with tigers, lions, almost any wild animal.
Please never pay for having a picture taken with a wild animal. Never ride an animal, be it donkey or elephant.
If you want to visit an animal sanctuary, ask people who know where to find a legitimate one, most animal welfare organizations will be able to point you into the right direction. Tell your family, tell you friends.