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Circus Performing In Mississippi Is Target Of Federal Charges Following In Defense of Animals' Complaints

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

Circus Performing In Mississippi Is Target Of Federal Charges Following In Defense of Animals' Complaints

IDA warns public to avoid performances due to serious animal welfare and public safety concerns

Lucedale, Miss. (February 16, 2012) -- Following multiple complaints made by In Defense of Animals (IDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has filed numerous charges against the Liebling Brothers Circus (aka Great American Family Circus) for willful violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including inhumane care and unsafe handling that put the public at risk. The circus will be performing in Lucedale, Columbia, and Brookhaven this week on February 17, 18, and 19.

"The Liebling Brothers Circus has finally been exposed for its flagrant mistreatment of animals and for subjecting families and children to unsafe conditions," said IDA Elephant Campaign Director Catherine Doyle. "Families that care about being kind to animals should avoid the Liebling Brothers Circus and any other circuses that make wild animals perform."

The more than 30 violations cited by the USDA include repeated noncompliance with federal requirements for veterinary care, safe handling and housing from 2007 through 2011. The charges specifically cite:

- Failure to provide veterinary care for the elephant Nosey's chronic skin condition, leaving her with thickened layers of dry, cracked dead skin on her body
 - Chaining Nosey so tightly that she could not move or lie down, and keeping her in filthy conditions
 - Handling Nosey in a way that was dangerous to the public
 - The escape of a spider monkey

IDA has been monitoring this circus owned by Hugo Liebel for several years, and has filed multiple complaints with the USDA for willful violations of federal animal protection law that endangered the animals and families attending the circus.

Doyle concluded: "This is just one more example of why wild animals do not belong in circuses, where they are cruelly trained, chained and intensively confined, and forced to travel and perform. No compassionate family should want to be a part of that."

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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. IDA operates Hope Animal Sanctuary in Grenada, Mississippi.

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