Written by Michelle Kretzer
advocates' voices are being heard loud and clear today, as PETA and eight other
animal protection organizations have joined forces to keep Ringling Bros. and Barnum &
Bailey Circus from taking "The Cruelest Show on Earth" abroad—including to
Mexico, where animal protection laws are virtually never enforced.
applied to export and re-import endangered Asian elephants and tigers based on an
Endangered Species Act (ESA) exemption that permits transporting the animals
for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival. But animal rights groups
from the U.S. and Mexico are calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to
deny the application because the only thing Ringling wants to enhance is its
bank account. Not only does dragging endangered animals across the border and
beating them in order to force them to perform not qualify for this ESA exemption, it also flies in the face of
what the ESA was designed to do: protect animals.
Ringling just paid the highest penalty in circus history for its animal abuse—$270,000 for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). In the
last few years, Ringling has racked up more than 50 violations of the AWA involving the care of big
cats and Asian elephants. In fact, Ringling's own documents admit what PETA's investigation found: that its
handlers beat elephants bloody with bullhooks.
in the past, when the circus has gone to Mexico—where
Ringling is exempt from even the minimal oversight that it receives in the U.S.—animal abuse has gone unrestrained. A Ringling
handler was caught on video whipping a baby elephant in the face, causing the
baby to screech and recoil. Handlers forcefully jabbed elephants with bullhooks
all over their bodies, including inside their tender mouths and ears, and one
handler was seen shocking an elephant with an electric prod.
will continue to fight to keep Ringling's animals on American soil, where they
have at least some protection. Meanwhile, please urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture
to seize Ringling's ailing elephants and retire them to sanctuaries.
Written by PETA
Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, must now pay the largest settlement of its kind in U.S. history―$270,000―for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) dating back to 2007.
PETA has been after the USDA all this time to take action against Ringling for abusing the animals in its care. In recent meetings, we presented unequivocal evidence of animal abuse, including beatings, the death of a lion, lame elephants forced to perform despite chronic pain, and a baby elephant who died during a training routine. We had recently filed a new formal request for action against Ringling, and our attorneys had met with the USDA's general counsel and urged her to begin enforcement proceedings.
PETA presented testimonial and photographic evidence that baby elephants at Ringling's training compound are torn away from their mothers and subjected to violent training sessions so that they will learn how to perform tricks, as well as video footage from a PETA investigation showing how elephants used by Ringling are whipped, beaten, and yanked by heavy, sharp steel-tipped bullhooks behind the scenes, prior to performing.
In addition to receiving the largest civil penalty ever assessed against an exhibitor under the AWA, Ringling must now provide all employees who handle animals with training and hire a staff member dedicated to AWA compliance. We will see how that goes.
This is a great start, but no one should forget that elephants and other animals pay the price every time anyone buys a ticket to the circus. Ask all the parents you know not to take their children to this cruel show, and explain why or show them this blog.
Please click here to thank the USDA for taking action against Ringling for its abuse of animals, and urge officials to go a step further and confiscate the circus' sick and ailing elephants.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
After finding out that Renninger's Farmers and Flea Market in Mount Dora, Florida, was offering rides on a female African elephant named Nosey, we immediately contacted the manager and alerted him to the dangers that elephant rides pose to both elephants and the public. After listening to our concerns and hearing from local citizens, Renninger's canceled the rides. Yay!
Most people don't realize that captive elephants are beaten, chained, and denied almost everything that is natural and important to them. This understandably causes aggression and poses a risk to humans—since 1990, rampaging elephants have killed 13 people and injured 120. Just a couple weeks ago, 12 children were injured by an elephant at the Shrine Circus, and in 2004, Nosey herself hit a Liebel Family Circus employee on the back of the head with her trunk, sending him to the hospital. I'm guessing that the parents who let their children take a ride on Nosey had no knowledge of this attack.
To be fair to Nosey—and all captive elephants—it's pretty clear what they're so mad about. After Nosey's outburst in 2004, the injured man described an incident in which a trainer "used the bullhook handle, turned off the lights in the performance ring, and beat the elephant." The trainer also encouraged others to take part in the abuse by striking her with objects such as a sledgehammer and shovel handles. When the USDA investigated the facility, they found that the Liebel Family Circus was not providing the animals in its care with adequate food, shelter, or veterinary care.
Don't you agree that it's time to put a permanent end to the abuse of elephants in circuses?
Written by Liz Graffeo
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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.