Written by Jennifer OConnor
It took a PETA
lawsuit to compel the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to change course,
but after three decades of secretly and illegally issuing hundreds of Endangered Species Act (ESA) permits to circuses, roadside zoos, and other animal
exploiters, the FWS will change its ways.
"captive-bred wildlife (CBW) permits"—previously allowed animal
exhibitors like the notorious Ringling Bros. circus
and Have Trunk Will Travel to harm and harass captive-bred endangered animals like Asian
elephants without any public scrutiny or comments on their plans. Now, anytime circuses
and operators of traveling and roadside displays want to "take" an endangered
species (which includes harming, harassing, and wounding them to force them to perform
in shows), they will
be subjected to public scrutiny and forced to adhere to ESA requirements.
An example of how all this can help animals
harkens back to one of PETA's earliest exposés—this one involving Las Vegas "entertainer"
Bobby Berosini, whose CBW permit was suspended (and his show closed) after PETA
revealed that he had viciously beaten the orangutans used in his tawdry act.
Bros. circus has a pending CBW permit application that would allow it to take
endangered elephants and leopards, so please click here to voice your objections to the FWS right
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan
PETA and two supporters
in Salt Lake City filed a federal civil rights lawsuit today against two Utah
Transit Authority police officers alleging violations of free speech rights.
The complaint states
that the PETA members were handing out leaflets about Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
to commuter train passengers in a public area when the officers ordered them to
leave or face charges for trespassing. While the activists reluctanctly left as
ordered, they are now pursuing legal action to protect their free speech rights
to educate potential circusgoers about the circus's long history of animal
Elephants used by
recently received the biggest penalty for animal welfare violations
in circus history—are
chained inside filthy, poorly ventilated boxcars for an average of more than 26
hours straight and are routinely beaten in order to force them to perform
confusing and unnatural tricks.
If the circus is
coming to your town, exercise your right to free speech! Just
be sure to contact city officials ahead of any leafleting or other outreach
event to determine whether you need a permit. Contact PETA's Action Team
to get help organizing local outreach.
On the heels of the
record $270,000 penalty paid by Feld Entertainment—the parent
company of Ringling Bros. and
Barnum & Bailey Circus—PETA is renewing
our call for the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service (FWS) to deny the company's
application to import
eight tigers and a leopard in violation of the federal
Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The ESA prohibits importing endangered species except
for "scientific purposes" or to benefit the survival of the species. It's
beyond a stretch for the circus to claim that it's helping tigers by jamming them into tiny cages and
whipping them into submission. Many of the violations that Ringling paid a
penalty to settle involved big cats, including a tiger who suffered a
laceration after her tail was slammed in a cage door and a lion who died of
heat exhaustion in a sweltering boxcar while crossing the Mojave Desert.
The FWS has a duty
to protect animals from harm and should not cave in to the demands of an
influential corporation that just agreed to pay a huge fine for alleged violations
of federal law.
Written by PETA
After leading the charge
for hundreds of protestors demonstrating outside the Ringling Bros. circus, Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels found
time to give an
why she is fighting for elephants and how people can get involved. Getting the
word out about circus cruelty "is the easiest thing to get behind,"
Many elephants used by Ringling suffer
from crippling arthritis and other debilitating ailments because they spend most of their
lives in boxcars and chains.
Follow Jillian's lead: Post notes
on Facebook and Twitter urging parents and grandparents never to buy tickets to
Ringling. Write a letter to the editor. And contact PETA's Action Team to help plan your own
demonstration when the circus arrives in your city.
by Jennifer O'Connor
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will go far and wide to find more animals to exploit. Feld Entertainment, which owns this wretchedly cruel circus, has applied to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to import eight tigers and one leopard who are currently being used in a circus in Germany. PETA has submitted comments and extensive supporting materials in opposition to this application, including a statement from a renowned tiger expert.
The Endangered Species Act prohibits the importation of endangered species except for "scientific purposes" or to benefit the survival of the species. Hard to make any of that comport with Ringling's desire to haul the big cats around in boxcars and use whips to make them hop on their hind legs.
Federal law also strictly prohibits transporting any endangered species in the course of a "commercial activity," and there is no question that the Ringling Bros. Circus is exactly that. The law further prohibits harming, harassing, and wounding endangered species and requires that they be maintained under humane and healthful conditions. Ringling's well-documented history of animal abuse is clearly grounds to reject its import application, as PETA points out:
Please share this troubling information with all the parents you know and urge them never to buy a ticket to Ringling or any circus using animals.
Written by Jennifer O’Connor
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act prohibits false and deceptive advertising, so why does the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus get away with promoting beaten elephants and whipped tigers as the "greatest show on Earth"? In a letter sent to the commission, PETA asks that very question.
Contrary to what Ringling's self-serving PR department says, U.S. Department of Agriculture reports, photographs and video footage prove without a doubt that circus employees strike, stab, jab, hook, prod, beat, and bloody elephants with bullhooks and whip them, chain them, and electro-shock them in order to break the elephants and force them to perform unnatural and painful tricks.
Right now, for example, three elephants—Sara, Nicole, and Karen—are being forced to perform grueling tricks in Ringling shows despite suffering from painful health ailments, including, in the case of Nicole and Karen, arthritis. Another elephant named Sarah is suffering from what appears to be a serious infection, but Ringling has ignored a veterinarian's orders and Sarah is still being forced to perform night after night.
PETA's FTC complaint is intended to force Ringling to tell the truth. The public can weigh in by refusing to buy a ticket.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
Great news on the circus front from our colleagues at Animal Defenders International: Peru's president, Alan García, has signed a law banning wild animals in circuses. The decision comes right on the heels of the British Parliament's unanimous vote to direct the government to introduce a similar ban. Legislation is also pending in Scotland, Brazil, Ecuador, and Colombia.
The use of animals in circuses has previously been abolished in Austria, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Singapore, Sweden, and many municipalities in Canada.
Most animals used in circuses are meant to roam over vast territories, but instead live chained or caged in cramped transport trailers and boxcars, allowed out only when forced to do demeaning tricks. Circuses go to great lengths to hide the dark side of the big top—that animals are torn from their families, are beaten into submission, and suffer from arthritis, foot problems, and other conditions.
Progress is being made around the world, yet the Ringling Bros. circus is still hauling sick elephants around the U.S. and forcing them to perform. Please ask federal authorities to intervene to get these ailing elephants off the road.
In a protest called "massive" by a local television station, author and fitness guru Jillian Michaels led the charge alongside producer Sam Simon, Twilight's Christian Serratos, The Secret Life of the American Teenager's Renee Olstead, and hundreds of demonstrators outside the Los Angeles Staples Center to call attention to the abuse of elephants by the Ringling Bros. circus.
Numerous elephants used by Ringling Bros. suffer crippling arthritis—a leading cause of euthanasia of captive elephants—because they don't get the freedom of movement and exercise that they need.
"Their enslavement by the circus means [elephants] spend their lives in chains and stuffy train cars with no freedom to roam, and they suffer painful, fatal ailments that come from such a stressful existence," says Michaels.
Other compassionate celebrities who supported PETA's protest via Twitter include Sophia Bush, Kellan Lutz, Alicia Witt, and Sasha Grey, among others.
Please never attend any animal circus performance, and contact PETA's Action Team to help plan your own demonstration when the circus comes to your city.
PETA has obtained copies of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection reports that describe repeated citations against the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for failing to adhere to the bare minimum regulations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.
According to the most recent USDA inspection report, Ringling has failed to provide adequate veterinary care to an elephant named Sarah who is apparently suffering from an infection: According to Ringling's medical records, Sarah has a history of pus oozing from her vulva and now also has a significantly elevated white blood cell count. But handlers have been ignoring orders from the circus' senior veterinarian to rinse the infected area twice a day, and there was no documentation that this ailing elephant's blood work was even reviewed. Indeed, Ringling did not express concern about Sarah's high white blood count until the USDA raised questions. Sarah is clearly not receiving the care she needs, and her condition could become fatal if she doesn't receive proper treatment. Yet Sarah is still on the road with the circus and is being forced to perform night after night. PETA is calling on the USDA to require Ringling to remove her from the road immediately so that she can receive the care that she needs.
Last November, the USDA cited Ringling for failing to provide veterinary care to another elephant named Sara who is underweight and chronically lame. Ringling was cited yet again for transporting animals in trailers and boxcars with broken, protruding metal trim, wires, and sharp edges, despite the fact that Ringling's own medical records documented that elephants had already been injured by poorly maintained equipment.
An independent elephant expert also observed elephants used by Ringling at recent performances and reported elephants with several injuries, including a bloody foot, a fresh puncture wound, and extensive scarring. In addition, elephants were so stiff—likely with arthritis—that they had trouble moving.
Please never attend a Ringling performance and urge the USDA to take action to remove these ailing elephants from the road.
Less than two months ago, PETA called on the Little Rock Zoo to retire its lone elephant, Ellen, (Mary, her companion, had just died), and send her to a sanctuary where she could spend her remaining years in peace and comfort. Now it's too late: Ellen is dead.
Rather than trying to find out what caused Ellen's rapid decline, zoo officials shut the gates to the public and buried Ellen at an undisclosed location. PETA is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate what really happened and to order a necropsy because of the suspicious handling of Ellen's death. Here are some questions that demand answers:
Please join PETA in asking the USDA to investigate the circumstances surrounding Ellen's death.
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
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
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.