AR-News: Seized elephant has long history of abuse.

Sat Dec 27 14:26:28 EST 2003

Please cross post -

As a baby, elephant Delhi was captured in India.  She performed with the 
Hamid Morton Circus until 1974.  She was then with the Hawthorn Corporation. Delhi 
was rented by the Walker Bros. Circus. 

October 2, 2001: The USDA cited Hawthorn for failure to provide veterinary 
care to Delhi, traveling with Walker Bros. Circus with overgrown nails and 

According to documents from the city of Chicago, a cruelty to animals 
complaint was filed against trainer John Caudill.  A letter to the Chicago Sun-Times 
editor described the wanton brutality endured by Hawthorn elephants leased to 
Medinah Shrine Circus. The letter read, "When the elephants were brought 
behind the curtain, the trainer began verbally abusing and hitting the elephant. We 
watched in horror as he swung a stick with all his force and struck the 
elephant in the back of the leg...the elephant let out a scream that could be heard 
throughout the UIC Pavilion. The kids were frightened and asked me why the 
man was hurting the elephant." The trainer was John Caudill.

October 11, 2001: The USDA cited Hawthorn for failure to correct a previously 
identified violation of not providing veterinary care by an experienced 
veterinarian to elephants traveling with Walker Bros. Circus. The inspector wrote, 
"I spoke with the veterinarian ... that had examined the animals on 10/10/01. 
He stated that he was not sure about the proper treatment for the elephants 
because he did not have much experience [in] treating them."
October 5, 2001: The USDA cited Hawthorn for failure to correct previously 
identified violations of not providing veterinary care and security for its 
elephants traveling with Walker Bros. Circus. - Delhi had an open, draining, and 
bleeding wound on her nail with blood stains on and around the nail and foot. 
The area above the nail was swollen and warm to the touch. The cuticles on both 
of her front feet were "very overgrown." Delhi was limping in pain and 
favored her leg during the performance. There were no documents to indicate that a 
qualified person was providing foot care. 

October 10, 1995: The USDA cited Walker Bros. for inappropriate handling of 
the elephants. The USDA inspector stated, "Each elephant had [two or three] 
puncture wounds behind the left ear and at least one under the chin from 
uncareful use of [an] elephant hook.

March 29, 2001: Delhi had an injury on her left front foot with an open 
bleeding lesion.

October 5, 2001: Delhi had an open, draining, and bleeding wound on her nail. 
The area above the nail was swollen. The cuticles on both of her front feet 
were very overgrown. Delhi was limping in pain and favored her leg during the 

March 4, 2002, Delhi was found in a serious health emergency. Both of her 
front legs were twice their normal size and were swollen up to her chest. She 
could not bend her front legs at the elbows, was reluctant to bear weight on her 
front legs, and had difficulty in walking.  

April 23, 2002: Delhi had severe tissue damage to the front feet and several 
abscessed areas on her body, including areas on both hips, between the eyes, 
the anterior portion of the ear attachment, on her head, the elbows of both 
front legs, and the tail. Chemical burns on Delhi's feet were the result of the 
use of undiluted formaldehyde to soak Delhi's feet. On 

May 4, 2002: The USDA's elephant veterinary consultant found that Delhi had 
numerous lesions, a swollen tail, swollen front feet with skin damage and 
abscess blow-outs, abscess defects on the foot pads, and a huge split nail.

Hawthorn handler, John Caudill (a.k.a. John Walker of Walker Bros. Circus) 
used undiluted formaldehyde to soak Delhi’s feet causing severe chemical burns.  
Delhi’ was seized by the USDA and given to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tenn.

I-SPEAK also recommends a visit to following site and that you sign that 

Please contact The Honorable Ann M. Veneman, Secretary
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
Tel: 202 720-3631
Fax: 202 720-2166
Email: agsec at

Tell Secretary Veneman that the USDA, besides charging Walker Bros. Circus 
and Hawthorn, should have their USDA permits revoked based on years of blatant 
USDA violations and criminal activities.  There is no excuse for the USDA at 
this point not to revoke their permits.

Also please request the USDA disregard San Diego veterinarian J.E. Oosterhuis 
inspection and statements saying Hawthorn's staff "should be commended for 
their care of Delhi".  This veterinarian was used to state that elephant Joyce 
of The Hawthorne Corporation had only tooth problems.  She died weeks later, 
August 1996, with advance TB and sever foot complications.  In 1998, after 
I-SPEAK complained of the Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus elephants in poor 
physical condition, the USDA cited the circus.  Dr. Oosterhuis was then recommended 
to inspect the elephants and he cited that all six elephants were all right 
to work, and that elephant Pete was most likely faking injuries.  Pete, with 
several health conditions including sever arthritic hip degeneration, and 
chronic pneumonia, and Conti with a known kidney infection died the following year, 
forced to work as the vet repeated they were all right weeks before their 
deaths.  Elephant Helen was stated to have a trick knee she could work with.  She 
was put to sleep due to sever joint condition.  Another elephant, Bessie, who 
the vet stated had arthritis she could work with, was eventually retired due 
to her condition.  Of the two remaining elephants, The vet stated a bulge 
around Jewel’s tail has caused a decreased elasticity in certain ligaments.  At 
worst, the condition could lead to a rupture of vital organs.   

I-SPEAK would also note that the The Elephant Sanctuary in Tenn. bears the 
entire financial responsibility for Delhi’s care, which could exceed $80,000 
over the next six months.  Please consider a donation t this organization to help 
with Delhi's care. 

Humanely Yours
International Society for the Protection 
of Exotic Animal Kind & Livestock, Inc.
998-C Old Country Road, # 142
Plainview, NY 11803    

More information about the AR-News mailing list