USDA Seizes Elephant from Illinois Facility

Last Updated: Nov. 25, 2003

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has taken the unusual step of confiscating an elephant from the same Illinois facility that houses Lota, the Asian elephant taken there from the Milwaukee County Zoo.

The new action - the first time that the USDA has confiscated an elephant as a protective measure - has prompted international animal rights activists to call for Lota's removal from the facility as well.

On Saturday, the department removed Delphi, a 57-year-old Asian elephant, from the Hawthorn Corp. facility because the animal's "health is at serious risk from a lack of veterinary treatment and adequate veterinary care," USDA spokesman Jim Rogers said.

Delphi was taken to an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee.

The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has asked the department to remove Lota from Hawthorn Corp. The request came in a letter sent Monday to Ann Veneman, U.S. secretary of agriculture, saying that "we remain deeply concerned about the well-being of its 16 remaining elephants, particularly Lota, who suffers from tuberculosis."

Hawthorn Corp. already faces USDA charges over its treatment of Lota.

A March 8 court date has been set for the case in Washington, D.C.


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