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
Last summer, my friends and I screamed bloody murder on the hair-raising Cyclone at Coney Island. But it was later that my stomach really turned when I learned about the electrocution of Topsy the abused circus elephant at Coney Island back in 1903. Her public execution was punishment for killing three men (including a sadistic trainer who tried to feed her a lit cigarette).
Elephant abuse has returned to Coney Island, thanks to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. But unlike the very public atrocity of Topsy's death, Ringling tries to keep its trainers' actions under wraps.
Luckily, we have an easy way for you to expose Ringling's abuse of animals. It's our "The Cruelest Show on Earth" tee! Super-soft and stylish, it's sure to get all your friends talking. Not only that, but we are giving three of them away for this week's "Win It" Wednesday.
How do you win? Over the years, many exploited elephants have fought back against their abusers. As I read through the list of incidents involving elephants, John Lennon's "Instant Karma" kicks in my imaginary soundtrack.
So, which song title do you think best represents the suffering (or revenge!) of elephants who are beaten and humiliated in circuses? Tell us in the comments section below—the three most descriptive entries will win PETA's carnie-inspired anti-circus T-shirt.
Written by Karin Bennett
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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.