Written by PETA
Barack, a 2-year-old elephant calf who was at one point traveling with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, is being treated (again) for elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus (EEHV). The scientific literature recognizes that stress is strongly associated with EEHV. Ringling has been subjecting baby Barack to the stress of transport, cruel "training," and performances since he was less than a year old.This is the second time that Barack has been treated for EEHV in his young life, and there is no cure for the disease, which is usually fatal in elephants. It has a staggering 80 percent mortality rate in captive Asian elephants.
Unless Barack and his mother, Bonnie, are sent to a sanctuary, Barack may very well die from this disease. The circus can make itself truly "The Greatest Show on Earth" by retiring the rest of its elephants too.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Barack, the baby Asian elephant, wasn't even 1 year old when he made his Ringling "debut" last month. Now Barack has been removed from traveling with the circus, and PETA has confirmed that he has contracted a herpes virus infection that may cost him his life. Death from the herpes virus usually occurs within seven days after an acute onset of symptoms that include lethargy, swelling of the head and limbs, and a blue discoloration of the tongue. This frightening disease typically affects elephants under 10 years of age and has an 80 percent mortality rate among captive, Asian elephants.
Stress may be a factor in the development of this virus, which has killed 20 percent of captive-born Asian elephant calves in North American facilities since 2000. Putting Barack on the road to perform in the circus at such a tender age was surely a stressful experience, and we're asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate and, if appropriate, to pursue charges if the agency determines that Ringling violated regulations for handling or veterinary care.
Prior to performances, Barack was led around by rope restraints on his trunk and legs, and during performances he was forced to climb a pedestal while surrounded by trainers carrying bullhooks—weapons resembling fireplace pokers that are used for striking, stabbing, hooking, prodding, and intimidating elephants. Before the circus took Barack off the road, he reportedly became spooked and trampled his trainer, who has been seen in recent weeks wearing a brace on his right leg, presumably as a result of injuries he sustained when Barack ran amok.
If Barack survives the herpes virus, he doesn't have much to look forward to. When he's around 18 months of age, he will likely be pulled away from his mother and subjected to violent training sessions, as depicted in our recent exposé. These fear-based and abusive training methods have contributed to the deaths of two baby elephants: One fled his bullhook-wielding trainer and drowned in a pond, and the other broke both hind legs after falling off a training pedestal. Other baby elephants have also died at Ringling.
Speak up for Barack and all the other baby elephants abused by Ringling by contacting the USDA and asking the agency to investigate.
Written by Logan Scherer
Before I tell you this story, please go check out our newest exposé on the abuse of baby elephants for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The exposé has been featured extensively in The Washington Post.
Keep those heartbreaking photos in mind as I tell you about Ringling's newest addition to its troupe of miserable, abused elephants. Barack is a baby Asian elephant who was born on January 19, the day before President Barack Obama was sworn into office—hence the name. TampaBayOnline reported that Baby Barack, who is not even 1 year old, just made his "debut" at a Ringling rehearsal at the Florida State Fairgrounds.
It's hard to believe that anyone would use an electric shock prod on an elephant like Baby Barack—or that someone would bind a baby elephant with rope and then slam that baby to the ground—but that's exactly the information presented to us by one of Ringling's own baby elephant trainers, the late Samuel Haddock Jr., who had a change of heart about his nearly 20-year career with Ringling.
In his statement about Ringling's treatment and training of baby elephants, Mr. Haddock noted, "Babies are typically pulled from their mothers around 18–24 months of age. Once they're pulled from their mothers, they've tasted their last bit of freedom and the relationship with their mother ends." He added, "Sometimes [the baby elephants] would start crying when they saw their mothers brought in from outside."
After the terrified babies are torn away from their devastated mothers, they begin a life of bondage and are forced to learn "tricks" such as sitting on tubs and standing on their heads.
Once again: Barack was born in January of this year, meaning that he isn't even 12 months old.
Would President Obama disapprove of the treatment of his namesake? I believe he would. I've posted this information on my Facebook page to let others know that I don't approve of Ringling's elephant abuse. Won't you do the same?
Written by Karin Bennett
But she wasn't the main course—she was the guest of honor:
Angel came to PETA U.K.'s holiday dinner from Hen Haven—a safe sanctuary for chickens and turkeys who would otherwise have been slaughtered. Feasting on faux turkey, grilled figs, nut roast, and mince pies with new friends sure beats a short, traumatic life on a factory farm.
When your full-time job is extracting brains from pigs' heads, irreparable trauma and polyradiculoneuropathy are all in a day's work. Polyradic … huh?
Polyradiculoneuropathy is a painful nerve disorder that attacks the peripheral nerves and the spine nerve roots. Earlier this month, a study revealed that 24 slaughterhouse workers had developed the disease after inhaling pig-brain tissue mist.
We always knew that working at a slaughterhouse messes with your head, but now we can say it actually attacks your brain.
We all know that the secret lives of our animal companions are fascinating—and now we can prove it. The Pet's Eye View Camera—the first-ever digital collar camera—snaps photos from your furry friends' point-of-view, so you can finally see what they do when you're not around. And its sleek, sturdy design ensures that no animal will even know it's there.
Say "soy cheese," because this awesome camera could be yours. We're giving away one of these groundbreaking, snapshot-taking marvels to the reader who comes up with the cleverest and most photo-friendly saying to get even the most camera-shy to smile.
Here's a phenomenon that'll stick in your memory like an octopus sticks to a … coconut shell:
With the recent discovery that the veined octopus sometimes carries around a coconut shell to use as impromptu shelter, this eight-legged wonder is now the first known tool-using animal without a backbone. According to the biologists who made the discovery, the use of tools to build shelter is such a complicated skill that even some of smartest animals, like chimpanzees, can't do it. (Um, the only self-enclosing "skill" I have is my sofa-cushion fort-building ability, which hasn't been tapped since 1994—so who knows if it's still even in me.)
Octopi are brilliant animals with sensitive short-term and long-term memories and a complex brain, so it's no surprise that their capabilities are extensive and intricate—from mastering mazes to distinguishing between different shapes. And their intelligence runs in their extended cephalopod family. Squids send messages via dermal patterns of light and color, so think twice before you eat calamari again—those are fried little Einsteins on your plate! If scientists have only just now discovered the tool-using skills of octopi, imagine all of the other talents these mollusk marvels and their relatives have got up their tentacles.
In high school, P.E. was my worst nightmare. Flickerball, pickle ball, capture the flag: I hated them all and tried my hardest to come up with excuses to sit on the bleachers. The worst periods by far were on fitness-test days—the dreaded mile run. Those were the days when I got really creative with my excuses. One year I faked a bee sting; another year I "got hives" when I tried to run.
Now, despite my phobia of physical exertion and my love of the couch, there are a few things that will get me to do just about anything involving lacing up sneakers and strapping on a pedometer. One of those motivators: animals. Driven by the incentive to save lives, I'm gearing up for an uncharacteristically active winter, undoing all those years of glorious unhealthy inertia by joining the second annual PETA Pack. A group of runners who train together and raise money for PETA, the Pack is the perfect synthesis of fitness and kindness. With the help of professional coach Darren Middlesworth, we'll train together for the Oakland Marathon/Half Marathon/5K on March 28, 2010.
But you don't have to live in the San Francisco Bay area to participate. Last year, 77 runners from across the U.S. and Canada trained remotely, and those who couldn't make it to Oakland for the big race found a race to run in their hometowns. Together they raised $57,000 for PETA's Investigations and Rescue Fund, and this year we expect to double that figure.
Training begins January 3—the perfect time to make a New Year's resolution a reality. Join today and check the PETA Pack blog for updates.
Yesterday, we asked you to guess which quip-firing, sass-making, cruelty-free-baking, real scorcher was the star of our newest "Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" ad. Today we're thrilled to unveil Bethenny Frankel's stunning new ad. Check out these scenes from the queen of the Big Apple's photo shoot:
Frankel used to wear fur, but then she saw a skinned animal on display at a demonstration outside a cocktail party. After being exposed to images of animals who are anally electrocuted or have their necks broken before their skin is peeled from their bodies, Bethenny ditched fur forever. As one of the classiest and kindest people on reality television, the story behind her decision to go fur-free is sure to inspire others to make the same easy and humane pledge.
We're going to need another tu to describe how adorable our tutu-cute dancing raccoon and fox were as they pliéd and pirouetted their ways into the hearts of balletgoers in Philadelphia:
Joined by local PETA supporters, our furry friends urged Nutcracker attendees and the many delighted onlookers to shun fur and go faux this holiday season. And the lucky kids who passed by got awesome anti-fur stickers.
A classic ballet and a timeless message—it's the perfect match. Bust out your classy moves for a compassionate cause by bringing our Tutu Cruel Campaign to a Nutcracker performance near you.
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
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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.