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Act Now for Queenie
Please make a phone call or send a fax today!
(September 10, 2009 update) - It has been 21 days since the USDA confiscated Jewel and Tina, but left Queenie (aka Boo) behind in Leggett, Texas in the hands of the incompetent Will Davenport, who has gravely endangered the health of all three elephants. With each day that passes, IDA is more concerned about Queenie's welfare as she remains at the mercy of a man who has shown repeatedly that he is incapable of providing her with proper and humane care.
The video at http://www.polkcountytoday.com/ (scroll down to “ELEPHANTS”, fast forward to just after 7 minutes) contains heartbreaking and disturbing footage of Queenie, chained to a tree in Texas, swaying neurotically behind Will Davenport after the truck carrying Tina and Jewel to the San Diego Zoo had pulled away. (The video, made by Davenport's friends in Polk County, contains many untruths, but does provide some interesting footage of the elephant confiscation.)
Even if you have already called the USDA, please take a moment today to leave a telephone message for the Secretary of Agriculture and email the Administrator of the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to urge the agency to return to Leggett immediately for Queenie and send her to a sanctuary where her safety and well-being can be assured. It's very important to contact both USDA officials.
Tell the USDA:
- It is inconceivable that the agency would leave Queenie in the "care" of Davenport, who has racked up countless Animal Welfare Act violations since receiving his USDA exhibitor's license just two years ago.
- The many outstanding legal issues regarding Will Davenport's conduct (including his defiance of a federal order during USDA's first confiscation attempt on August 15) provide a clear avenue for them to help Queenie.
- You hold the agency directly responsible for Queenie's welfare. After all she has been through, Queenie must be retired from public display and sent to either the PAWS sanctuary in California or The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Since Queenie has no pressing health issues requiring intensive veterinary care, she can go immediately to a sanctuary. There is no excuse for sending her to a zoo.
Note: Do not allow the USDA to tell you that they have no jurisdiction over Queenie's care since Davenport voluntarily surrendered his USDA license - the agency has plenty of legal avenues to pursue to bring Davenport to justice and secure Queenie's rescue.
USDA Contact Information:
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
Phone: 202 720-3631, Fax: 202-720-2166
Acting APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea
Phone: 202-720-3861 Email: Kevin.A.Shea@usda.gov
Contact Congress Too!
Ask your Congressperson and Senators to contact Secretary Vilsack in support of Queenie's rescue and transfer to a sanctuary. If they have been responsive in the past, be sure to thank them for their previous help in securing Tina and Jewel’s confiscation, but let them know that Queenie has been left behind in dire circumstances.
Find your federal representatives here.
Please continue to call and email these officials until Queenie is safely housed at the PAWS sanctuary in California or The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.
Background on Queenie
Queenie is an Asian elephant who is estimated to be 52 years of age. She has been "owned" by the Davenport family for at least two decades and has been trucked around the country and forced to perform in circuses and to give elephant rides for years. In 2006, an undercover investigator for Animal Defenders International videotaped Queenie (also known as Boo) and another elephant named Chrissy being abused by Mike Swain, an employee of the Bailey Brothers Circus, a Davenport family operation.
In March 2007, USDA inspectors documented the continued abuse of Queenie, who was found in poor condition at a fairgrounds in Pueblo, Colorado. The inspection report from that time states:
"[The elephant has] excessive dead skin over most of her body and doesn’t show evidence of proper bathing for quite some time. She has urine staining and what appears to be urine scalds on her back legs. The pads on this elephant had excessive growth and there were numerous flaps of skin that had trapped debris in them. The cuticles were also excessively long."
Queenie also had "multiple wounds draining yellowish exudates inside the left ear" . . consistent with the improper use of an ankus in the ear."
The handler was "not properly trained or experienced." "[He] had to continuously rely on excessive and inappropriate use of the ankus to get the elephant to perform the behaviors he was asking for during the rides and performances. . . during the rides and performances, the handler was observed repeatedly jabbing and hitting the elephant with the ankus. Several times during the elephant ride, the handler used the ankus to hit the elephant and she reacted by throwing her head and changing her gait demonstrating irritation at the action of the handler. . . This is inappropriate and abusive use of the ankus and such use is likely to cause trauma, behavioral stress, physical harm or unnecessary discomfort . . . " (Emphasis added).
Queenie must not be left at the Davenports’ mercy. Ask USDA to act promptly to send her to a sanctuary!
For more information, please see http://www.helpelephants.com/tina_jewel_and_queenie.html