Written by PETA
Queenie, an Asian elephant who spent her entire life in captivity, has died at Georgia's Wild Adventures Water and Theme Park at age 59. Queenie was only 6 months old when her owner began training her to water ski—yes, water ski—at a Florida theme park. For 15 years in the '50s and '60s, Queenie performed three or four times a day, accompanied by blasting music. She was then sold to a traveling elephant act and then sold and resold over and over again before ending her sad days at Wild Adventures.
While water-skiing elephants may be a thing of the past, elephants in circuses today lead lives equally as bereft as Queenie's. Baby elephants used by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus are torn away from their frantic mothers to be broken and trained for a life of servitude. They spend decades in chains, trying to avoid being hit with bullhooks.
Don't let a circus come to your town unchallenged. Plan a protest (we can help!), contact the sponsors, and write a letter to the editor. Your actions make a difference!
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus doesn't always let the public know when an elephant dies, as in the case of 11-day-old Bertha, who was born and died with no recognition, but in a news release issued this week, the circus announced that an elephant named Lutzi—who spent 56 years of her 61-year life with the circus—was euthanized after her health deteriorated.
In a sworn deposition taken during Ringling's 2009 trial to answer charges that its elephant-handling practices violated the federal Endangered Species Act, Ringling's general manager for the CEC admitted that Lutzi and other elephants were chained by two legs on a concrete floor for 16 hours a day.
Ringling is still hauling around Karen, an ailing elephant who has tested positive for tuberculosis, and is forcing her to perform tricks.
Please ask the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pull Karen off the road before she is added to the ever-growing list of captive elephants who have died too young.
PETA recently uncovered that an elephant traveling with the Ringling Bros. circus, 42-year-old Karen, has tested positive for tuberculosis and was banned from the state of Tennessee earlier this year.
A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has documented the "high prevalence" of tuberculosis among captive elephants, a serious disease that is highly transmissible from elephants to humans. In 2009 nine people were infected by a TB-positive elephant at a refuge—some who had little or even no direct contact with the infected elephant.
Lota, an elephant who was rented out to circuses, suffered with TB for years before the USDA finally took action that resulted in her being sent to the Elephant Sanctuary, where she spent the last months of her life getting some long-overdue TLC.
Karen is already in poor health. She suffers from painful arthritis and serious foot problems—the leading reasons that captive elephants in the U.S. are euthanized. Late in 2010, Karen and another ailing elephant, Minyak, were both granted a reprieve and permitted to stop traveling, but as of March 2011, Karen is back with Ringling's Blue Unit. She is being forced to perform strenuous and painful tricks, including headstands, that aggravate her condition.
Since Ringling has made it clear it won't give this ailing elephant a break, please ask the U.S. Department of Agriculture—the agency in charge of protecting animals in circuses—to intercede and pull Karen off the road permanently.
Ringling Bros. Circus hauls elephants and other animals from city to city chained inside reeking railroad boxcars, but its truck caravans (Ringling has three separate shows) also travel tens of thousands of miles every year shipping caged tigers, birds, and other animals. A staffer with one of the circus's units—which travels 30,000 miles annually—admitted that some of the trucks only get about four miles to the gallon!
While Ringling was squandering our planet's resources, PETA members carpooled and stripped down to the bare essentials to protest the circus's performances in Champlain, Illinois. Check it out:
Contact PETA's Action Team to arrange your own car pool and demonstration when Ringling shows up in your town!
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
… but in a good way. The circus has joined dozens of innovative and entertaining productions in leaving animals out of the act. We campaigned against Circus Vargas years ago when it still forced elephants, llamas, and other animals to perform, but now we'll sing its praises.People who care about animals don't want to watch elephants who have been beaten into submission with metal-tipped bullhooks or tigers who are forced to cower before trainers with whips, so Circus Vargas made a good business decision. After all, the number of animal-free circuses has skyrocketed in recent years in response to public demand.
By only buying tickets to shows that don't hurt animals, you can compel Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and others like it to do away with whips, bullhooks, and cramped cages and release their lonely and depressed animal performers.
The U.K.'s Chipperfield's Circus—which has been exploiting animals since 1684(!) and was in the news following the beating of a baby chimpanzee some years back—has gone animal-free!
Between 1996 and 1998, a long-term investigation of the circus led to successful cruelty-to-animals convictions of the circus's owners, Mary and Roger Chipperfield; jail for the elephant handler; and the closure of three of the circuses owned by the Chipperfield family.
With your help, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus could join the list of circuses in the U.S. that have decided to do away with animal acts, but unfortunately, it has dug in its heels. Please watch our Ringling investigation, share it with your friends, and then contact our Action Team to start campaigning today to make it happen!
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus arrives this week in Bridgeport, Connecticut, which was once the circus's headquarters. P.T. Barnum called the city home and even served as its mayor, and the city now features a Barnum museum. But the local paper hopes that animal acts will soon be relegated to Ringling history.
The Connecticut Post has published an editorial calling for an end to the use of animals in circuses. Says the Post, "[C]haining these animals up, wresting them from their families, parading them through the streets, and forcing them to perform for our amusement is, at the least, inhumane. A better word would be 'cruel.'"
The editorial praises PETA's campaigns against Ringling, stating, "PETA has been known through the years for outrageousness in their demonstrations against animal cruelty …. This time, there's nothing over the top about their tactics. Representatives are simply touring the nation, displaying incontrovertible evidence of how elephants are broken and 'trained.'"
Please thank the Connecticut Post for speaking up for animals, and then urge federal officials to seize the elephants Ringling hauls around the country in boxcars and forces to perform under threat of punishment.
After Sacramento officials caved in to pressure from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and allowed elephants who are likely suffering from painful arthritis to hobble through shows last weekend—even though there's a city ordinance on the books that's supposed to protect animals in traveling shows—PETA protested outside Tuesday's City Council meeting in behalf of the elephants. Several of the elephants had been observed limping and walking with stiff legs and short steps—strong indications that they are badly hurting. These elephants should have been retired years ago.
Next stop, Stockton, California, where we've asked Mayor Ann Johnston to pull these ailing elephants from the show.
Stand up for elephants on Twitter. Retweet this petition. Also, order a supply of Ringling leaflets to distribute when the circus comes to your town!
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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.