Written by Michelle Kretzer
advocates' voices are being heard loud and clear today, as PETA and eight other
animal protection organizations have joined forces to keep Ringling Bros. and Barnum &
Bailey Circus from taking "The Cruelest Show on Earth" abroad—including to
Mexico, where animal protection laws are virtually never enforced.
applied to export and re-import endangered Asian elephants and tigers based on an
Endangered Species Act (ESA) exemption that permits transporting the animals
for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival. But animal rights groups
from the U.S. and Mexico are calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to
deny the application because the only thing Ringling wants to enhance is its
bank account. Not only does dragging endangered animals across the border and
beating them in order to force them to perform not qualify for this ESA exemption, it also flies in the face of
what the ESA was designed to do: protect animals.
Ringling just paid the highest penalty in circus history for its animal abuse—$270,000 for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). In the
last few years, Ringling has racked up more than 50 violations of the AWA involving the care of big
cats and Asian elephants. In fact, Ringling's own documents admit what PETA's investigation found: that its
handlers beat elephants bloody with bullhooks.
in the past, when the circus has gone to Mexico—where
Ringling is exempt from even the minimal oversight that it receives in the U.S.—animal abuse has gone unrestrained. A Ringling
handler was caught on video whipping a baby elephant in the face, causing the
baby to screech and recoil. Handlers forcefully jabbed elephants with bullhooks
all over their bodies, including inside their tender mouths and ears, and one
handler was seen shocking an elephant with an electric prod.
will continue to fight to keep Ringling's animals on American soil, where they
have at least some protection. Meanwhile, please urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture
to seize Ringling's ailing elephants and retire them to sanctuaries.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.