Save Nosey Now with Michelle Weirich

Save Nosey Now with Michelle Weirich

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In this episode of Vegan Styled Life, Ellen talks to Michelle Weirich about Nosey the elephant.


Ellen Champion: Today, I am in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the capitol, at the Capitol State Building. We are here for Humane Lobby Day. It’s very exciting. There are so many bills that we are going to be speaking to our senator and our representative about, hoping that they will sponsor it and pass the bill.

I met this wonderful, wonderful woman, Michelle Weirich.

Michelle Weirich: Yep.

EC: Okay. She has something that I really would like to share with you. She’s going to be talking to you about this wonderful elephant, Nosey. I love the name. This elephant, just very quickly, was a circus elephant, and she is an advocate and a lobbyist for elephants in general, but she wants to talk to you today about Nosey and what circus elephants go through and what we can do to help them.

MW: Thank you so much.

EC: Oh, you’re welcome.

MW: I’m an admin on Save Nosey Now, and we’ve been fighting to free Nosey for years from her owner, who actually has 200 violations against him. The USDA is very aware of her, and so is the Florida Wildlife, and they seem to not be able to do anything to protect her.

Florida Wildlife knows that she is being abused, and when they inspect her, they don’t find any violations. They’re basically not even following their own regulations, because we will point out regulations for them, and they basically come up with some excuse or just say, “Well, we didn’t see anything like that.”

On, it’ll tell you our whole story, but if you Googled Save Nosey Now, you would see video after video after video of her abuse. We have her eating light bulbs. We have her …

EC: Eating light bulbs?

MW: … stumbling. We have her chained up by herself in parking lots during rainstorms. We have her actually locked in her trailer on a steaming hot day, where we actually called the police, because we wanted to make sure she was not gonna die in there.

The Florida Wildlife and the USDA will not protect her, so we’re basically trying to get them to do their job and save her before she dies. I have seen her three times, and it’s just absolutely brutal to see her giving rides when she has arthritis. They make her do these horrible tricks where they’re hanging off of her tusks. One’s on her head. There’s literally a video of her crawling across the ground.

It’s absolutely so cruel and so unfair, and the worst part about it is that our government will not protect her. That’s the worst part. I was told by the USDA that she will have to be on her deathbed for them to remove her. I said, “Well, you’re not gonna be there when she’s on her deathbed. She’ll die alone.”

Her owner thinks it’s a big joke. Now, the story about her is she was stolen from Zimbabwe when she was just an infant. She was brought her. She’s 34 years old, and she’s lived in captivity. She’s lived alone, which elephants are very social animals.

EC: Very social animals.

MW: She’s always alone. She’s in a trailer for hours after hours after hours, traveling across the country in a hot trailer with no water. He basically … When she’s giving rides, he doesn’t give her the water she needs, the food, even. Basically, see her grabbing for food as she’s going around in circles, trying to get food from …

EC: I’m sorry. I have to ask you this. She was eating light bulbs?

MW: Yes, there is a video of her eating a light bulb.

EC: Why would she be eating light bulbs?

MW: Well, because she was left alone and had nothing to eat. There’s a woman that … The thing about Nosey is there’s so many people that love her and are fighting for her. So if we know where she is, which he … She goes by different names. She goes by Nosey. She goes by Tiny. He tries to change her name so we can’t find her.

But if we know where she is, we basically have people go and see her and try to get evidence, and one poor woman …

EC: So she works for a circus right now?

MW: Yes, it’s a traveling circus.

EC: A traveling circus. What is the name of that circus?

MW: It’s Family Circus, and his name is Hugo Liebel.

EC: Okay. I’ve heard of him, Hugo Liebel.

MW: So we have evidence of her basically by herself, and the woman that’s video … She goes, “Oh my God, she’s gonna eat that light bulb. She’s gonna eat that light bulb.” You can see her eat it, and it pops in her mouth. Then she’s startled, and we’re thinking … She’s supposed to be never left unattended, first of all.

EC: Well, there’s a lot of first of alls here.

MW: Yeah. She’s not supposed to be left unattended. That’s a regulation right there.

EC: Yeah.

MW: Actually, they’re supposed to give itinerary wherever she goes in Florida. They never have any itinerary.

EC: I do wanna say I don’t know who’s watching this video. I don’t know how much you know about elephants. Elephants are very social animals. They are very family-oriented animals. They actually mourn the dead once a year, which is probably more than humans do.

MW: Yes.

EC: Really, they do it every single year. They go to their cemetery. There’s an elephant cemetery.

MW: They protect their babies.

EC: They also have a daycare center, really.

MW: Yep, yep.

EC: I mean, that’s what I call it.

MW: Yep.

EC: Yeah, it’s really incredible. So the other mothers can do whatever it is that they do, there’s a couple of mothers that stay behind and watch all the kids. It’s just … They’re so …

MW: Social and …

EC: So human.

MW: Right.

EC: I really hate to put it that way, because whether they’re human or not, they deserve kindness and people to be there for them and save them and protect them.

MW: Well, her being alone is really a big issue for her.

EC: Yeah, it’s a huge issue. Well, there’s [crosstalk 00:06:45].

MW: Well, that’s just one of the things. It’s …

EC: So can you tell us, what can we do?

MW: Well, you could join, and we’ve actually … I think I told you. We actually just became a nonprofit, because we’re trying to raise money. We do have a wonderful lawyer that’s helping us, but we’re trying to raise money to get the government to actually do something.

EC: Right.

MW: Because they won’t do it on their own. We have to make them do something about her.

EC: Okay. A couple of questions. I know we’re talking about Nosey, but she can’t be the only elephant that is experiencing what she’s experiencing.

MW: No.

EC: There’s got to be …

MW: Save Nosey Now fights for all the elephants. We’re just …

EC: Okay.

MW: She’s just the one that we are using …

EC: She’s the spokesperson.

MW: … as an example, because it’s just like … We need a ban on all live animals in circuses.

EC: Right.

MW: We don’t need to be torturing these animals.

EC: So we are here today, and one of the bills is to help save elephants and rhinos. It’s about … The bill would prohibit the import, sale, purchase, barter, or possession of either a rhinoceros – I can never say that – horn or item containing ivory or rhinoceros … Why am I having trouble?

MW:  Rhinoceros.

EC: Thank you. Rhinoceros – I know that – horn and imposes fines and forfeiture upon conviction of violation. So I know I’m gonna be meeting with my representative and my senator …

MW: Right.

EC: … and I am going to be discussing this bill, and if you’re out there watching, you could still take part in this and talk to your representative and your senator about this.

MW: And go to the global march that they have every year in Washington, D.C.

EC: Tell them.

MW:  Every year in Washington, D.C., they have a global march. I’ve been to every one so far. There’s been four of them. We need to stop [inaudible 00:08:54]. There’s no reason.

EC: Yeah, so my question is …

MW: It’s just brutal.

EC: Oh, it’s hard. Absolutely hard. So when I go there today, at 1:30, I’m going to be meeting with Senator McIlhinney. Do I bring this up as well?

MW: I’m going to.

EC: Okay. I will, too.

MW: I’m going to. They told me I could.

EC: Okay.

MW: Now, they told me I can’t put it in this pamphlet here, because I was gonna kind of put it in here so that when they went through the bills that were …

EC: Why can’t you?

MW: I don’t know. The Humane … They just told me I couldn’t do it, ’cause I said, “Oh, can I put these pamphlets in there?” She said, “No, but you can hand it to them.”

Actually, in New Jersey, we are … Senator Lesniak is a wonderful, wonderful animal activist. He is trying to pass a bill called Nosey’s Law. It will …

EC: I love the name.

MW: It will prevent circuses in Jersey coming with live animals, circus animals and stuff like that. So look up Senator Lesniak. He’s just … They have a full ban on ivory, they have a trophy hunting ban, and now they’re trying to get Nosey’s Law passed. He’s a real animal activist.

EC: I have to say that I have heard over and over again by so many people that what can one person do, so why bother? I am letting you know, and I am living proof, that one person counts. There have been so many times I have gone to Humane Lobby Day – a number of years in New York and now a number of years in Pennsylvania – and the work that I do here and the work that everybody does here counts. Everybody counts.

Your voice matters. Please speak up. Please go to your representatives and your senator. Sign the petitions. Do whatever it is that you can. Everything is online. You can get involved. I’m sure there’s probably tons of meetup groups and just so many different things that you can do to take part.

Your voice matters. You matter in the help of all these defenseless animals. There’s elephants, but there’s tons of other animals out there also that could use your help, whether there be pets or wildlife or foreign animals. Please make your voice count. Thank you.


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