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IDA News Release - Circus Performing In Alabama Target Of Federal Charges

Contact: Catherine Doyle,, (323) 301-5730; Deb Robinson,, (860) 836-7761

Circus Performing In Alabama Target Of Federal Charges

Hartford, Ala. (February 14, 2012) - In Defense of Animals (IDA), an international animal protection organization, is warning the public that the Liebling Brothers Circus (Great American Family Circus), performing in Hartford and Andalusia, Alabama this week on February 15 and 16, has been formally charged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act for inhumane treatment and dangerous handling of wild animals, including an elephant and a spider monkey.

"IDA applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture for taking action against the Liebling Brothers Circus to protect the animals and the public," said IDA Elephant Campaign Director Catherine Doyle. "It's time this circus was held accountable for its flagrant mistreatment of animals, and for subjecting the public to unnecessary risk."

IDA has been monitoring this circus and its owner Hugo Liebel for several years and has filed multiple complaints with the USDA for willful violations of the Animal Welfare Act that endangered the animals and families attending the circus.

The USDA charges include repeated noncompliance with federal requirements for veterinary care, handling, and housing from 2007 through 2011, the possible penalties for which are fines and suspension or revocation of Liebel's license to exhibit animals. The charges specifically cite the escape of a spider monkey, failure to provide veterinary care for the elephant Nosey's chronic skin condition and weight loss, chaining Nosey so tightly that she could not move, and handling her in a way that was dangerous to the public.

"If families don't want to support animal cruelty, they should not attend the Liebling Brothers Circus," said Doyle. "Any circus using wild animals should be avoided because of the inherent cruelty involved in forcing them to travel and perform." ###

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization located in San Rafael, Calif. dedicated to protecting animals' rights, welfare, and habitat through education, outreach, and our hands-on rescue facilities in India, Africa, and rural Mississippi.


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