Written by PETA
Zina and Jewel, two aging elephants who have spent nearly their entire lives with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus (Jewel since 1954 and Zina since 1972), have been "donated" by the circus to the Little Rock Zoo. Some "retirement": The Little Rock Zoo still uses the cruel and archaic free-contact system to control elephants, which means that Zina and Jewel have not escaped the bullhooks and chains.
In testimony during a trial to answer charges that Ringling's elephant handling practices violated the federal Endangered Species Act, the circus's general manager admitted Zina and Jewel (and five other elephants) were all chained by two legs in a concrete barn at Ringling's Florida breeding and "retirement" center for 16 hours a day. Another witness testified that he had to cover more than 20 oozing wounds with Wonder Dust (a gray powder used to camouflage wounds) after Zina was beaten with a bullhook.
Considering the long hours spent chained on hard concrete floors, it's no wonder that Jewel is suffering from severe arthritis. Many of the elephants used by Ringling have joint problems, like Sara, who is far younger than Jewel but already suffering from painful lameness, which will likely lead to arthritis as she ages.
Ringling raked in millions of dollars over the decades that it hauled these elephants around the country, but instead of retiring them to a sanctuary, the circus "rewarded" them by dumping them at a zoo for more years of exploitation.
Please never buy a ticket to the circus, and ask the Little Rock Zoo to stop using bullhooks and chains on elephants.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
When we heard that during a recent USDA inspection of Maximus Tons of Fun LLC—an elephant act performing with Shrine Circuses—inspectors found that Tina, Jewel, and Boo, three elephants traveling with Maximus Tons of Fun, have lost a combined 1,280 pounds over the last year, we were outraged.
While dropping some pounds to get your body beach ready may seem like a good idea for you, this amount of weight loss could indicate that these elephants are suffering from a potentially deadly illness or are not being provided with adequate food and proper nutrition. We've filed a complaint with the USDA and asked that it ensure that these elephants are taken off the road immediately.
This isn't the first time that Tina and Jewel have been in danger because of severe weight loss. In 2007, Tina and Jewel were traveling with Cole Bros. Circus when a whistleblower reported that the elephants were emaciated. After we filed a complaint with the USDA, the elephants were removed from the road to recover, but it wasn't long before they were forced to rejoin the circus.
We're hoping that the USDA will act swiftly to ensure that these animals are pulled off the road again—and this time, permanently.
Luckily, some people are getting the message that all elephants who are forced into the circus industry are plagued with chronic illness and lead lives full of misery. Garden City Circus and an entire city in Queensland, Australia, have completely removed animals from their circus performances.
Written by Liz Graffeo
Update: There was a great investigative report on this issue that was on KHOU-TV this week. Check it out here.
Our Captive Animals department has been working overtime on a case involving two elephants named Tina and Jewel. The elephants belong to Cole Bros., a circus that was assessed a $10,000 penalty by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for abusing elephants with bullhooks. To make a long story short, after confirming a whistleblower report stating that Jewel was emaciated, we filed a complaint with the USDA, leading to the removal of both elephants from the road. But now they are being housed at an unapproved facility in TX, and according to one recent inspection, an elephant expert “determined that both elephants showed an alarming amount of weight loss.”
Cole Bros. is leasing the elephants to the family that formerly operated the King Royal Circus, until its USDA license was permanently revoked when a young African elephant named Heather was found dead in a crowded, overheated trailer. Lovely.
Please help us convince the USDA to confiscate the elephants and relocate them to The Elephant Sanctuary, where they can receive proper nourishment and veterinary care from qualified elephant caretakers. You can take action here.
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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.