Written by PETA
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.
So whaddaya say, Madge? We’ll even pony up some names for your new animal-friendly progeny that will go well with that whole spiritual, neo-hippie vibe you’ve got going on. I’m thinking something like Chickpea Ciccone. Or how about Ethereal Girl? If anyone else has some suggestions, feel free to weigh in.
Here's another classic for you, from a few years back. I've often heard people make the point that no one would wear fur if they were able to see that draping yourself in dead babies is barbaric, regardless of the species. Of course, only at PETA can you make that point in a meeting and end up with a "baby" fur coat by the end of the day. Yup. The handsome model in luxury baby trim is my friend Pulin. And the expressions on those people's faces are priceless.
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
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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.