Target: Dr. Gregory Parham, Administrator of the USDA’s Animals and Plant Health Inspection Service
Goal: Prevent TB-infected elephants from traveling with circuses.
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the few diseases that can be easily transmitted between humans and elephants. In fact, direct contact with a TB-infected elephant is not even necessary for transmission of TB to humans, and recently, a TB-infected elephant was linked to an outbreak among nine humans, some of whom had no direct contact with the elephant.
Unfortunately, these TB-infected elephants are still forced to travel and perform with circuses by the companies who keep them, risking not only the elephant’s life and health, but the life and health of human patrons. Elephants are forced to perform even when they are too sick, and most circus elephants have very poor veterinary care and are left to suffer.
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), who is responsible for adopting and implementing new regulations to protect animals, released guidelines that include testing requirements, restrictions on transporting TB-positive elephants, and recommendations for the elimination or restriction of the public’s access to TB-infected elephants, but has yet to adopt these standards. TB-positive elephants continue to cross the US, possibly risking transmission among other humans and elephants. The United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) has even recommended increasing precautions regarding TB-infected elephants, but the USDA has failed to adopt any of their recommendations.
By signing the petition below, you are asking the USDA to protect public health and animal welfare by adopting the USAHA’s recommendations and guideline on TB-infected elephants, and force circuses to remove TB-infected elephants from the road.
Dear Dr. Gregory Parham,
The USDA has continuously failed to adopt the United States Animal Health Association’s recommendations and updated guidelines on tuberculosis-infected elephants in circuses and other public arenas. TB-infected elephants not only put other uninfected elephants at risk, they also put unsuspecting humans at risk. Humans don’t even need to have direct contact with the TB-infected elephant to contract TB. Recently, a TB outbreak of nine humans was linked back to a TB-infected elephant.
By allowing TB-infected elephants to continue to perform, the USDA is risking an even larger outbreak of TB among humans and animals. The USDA is also doing elephants and animal welfare a great disservice by allowing circuses, who are not known for their attention to quality veterinary care, to force sick elephants to perform. As you may well be aware, a circus is not any place for an elephant, and forcing a sick elephant to perform is even crueler than keeping it in captivity.
I am asking to you adopt the USAHA’s guidelines on TB-infected elephants, and make sure that these elephants are not only taken off the road, but given quality veterinarian care. Don’t risk an outbreak of TB among humans.
[Your Name Here]