Written by Jeff Mackey
The, um, cheeky comedy stylings of Doug Stanhope may cause the oh-so-proper "ladies who lunch" crowd to suffer a fit
of the vapors. But for the irreverent folks out there, Doug's point of view will be quite refreshing (check out his latest release on iTunes 'til you can catch him
live), especially when it comes to matters involving animals.
Recently, Doug sat down to talk with PETA about the
ridiculousness of "working animals" at SeaWorld and in circuses, the idiocy of fur-wearers, and his adopted animal companions. Enjoy!
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.
You might recall that last fall, PETA convinced
Simon Property Group, the largest real estate company in the country, to ban exotic-animal exhibits
at all its properties. At one mall that Simon owns in Winchester, Virginia, Cole Bros. Circus makes an annual appearance during the city's Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival,
which means that Cole Bros. would have to skip this city altogether or use only
human performers in its show—no animals whatsoever.
Marion Doss|cc by 2.0
To our surprise, that is just what the circus
is doing! The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival announced that Cole Bros. had
created "a new-concept circus in 2012 entitled 'Circus of the Stars' that
they feel will be just as dazzling and just as amazing as previous circuses."
I'm of the opinion that seeing a circus replete with daring and funny human performers would be considerably more exciting than watching frightened, abused animals forced to do silly tricks.
Cole Bros. has a long history of repeatedly
violating the Animal Welfare Act and recently incurred a $15,000 fine after
PETA filed two complaints with the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding the
physical safety and psychological well-being of two of its elephants. It was
also forced to pay $150,000 for illegally selling endangered elephants to
someone wholly unable to provide them with proper care, in violation of the Endangered
But this humans-only circus is a great
start toward making Cole Bros.' abuse of animals a thing of the past, and PETA
will continue working to have venues host only the circus's animal-free
When the Liebel Family Circus
planned on doing a series of shows at National Guard armories in Arkansas, it
didn't plan on PETA. We wrote to Major General William D. Wofford of the
Arkansas National Guard and let him know that the U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA) recently formally charged the circus's owner, Hugo Liebel, with almost three dozen violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
National Guard wisely decided not to associate itself with cruelty to animals and canceled scheduled performances in four cities.
Liebel has a long history of animal abuse. His most recent USDA charges include
repeated failure to provide adequate veterinary care to Nosey, the poor old elephant
he uses in his shows, who has been suffering from a chronic skin condition and
unexplained rapid weight loss, among other ailments. The USDA complaint against
Liebel also includes multiple charges for illegally chaining Nosey by two legs
so tightly that she could neither lie down nor take more than a single step in
any direction. Liebel also faces charges for allowing a spider monkey to escape
and not recapturing him for nearly six weeks and for chaining a spider monkey
to a pony for more than an hour.
affidavit from a circus employee recounts Liebel's affinity for bullhooks and
electric prods and details one incident in which Nosey was staked by all four
legs and beaten with a bullhook by Liebel. Liebel also instructed other workers
to beat her with objects such as shovel handles and sledge hammers.
all circus performances using captive animals would become a history-book
horror story. But in the meantime, Congress is considering the Traveling Exotic Animal
which would require vast improvements for animals used in circuses. Please take
a moment to urge your representatives to pass this historic piece of
legislation. Then get everyone you know to do the same, for sake of elephants
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
The town of Molins
de Rei has joined more than 60 other Spanish cities that have enacted bans
against circuses that use
Our colleagues at
Asociación Animalista Libera received overwhelming support from city officials
after pointing out that animals in circuses live in cramped cages and are
beaten with bullhooks and whips in order to force them to obey. The ban includes all exhibitors that use wild animals.
Contact PETA's Action Team to get a campaign to ban animal acts
underway in your own town.
Update: After a
PETA staffer swore out a complaint against Henry Hampton, Lazy 5's owner, Hampton
finally made arrangements to trim two giraffes' painfully overgrown hooves.
Because he delayed the critical procedure and caused one giraffe to suffer for more than a year,
PETA is calling for prosecutors to pursue cruelty-to-animals charges against
him. However, PETA is open to dropping the charges if Hampton promises the
court that he'll adhere to a continual regimen of appropriate hoof care.
The following was originally posted December, 14, 2011.
North Carolina's Lazy 5 Ranch
should be the last place that schools take children on field
trips, unless the trip is meant to teach children about how cruelly animals are
treated in roadside zoos. But visiting Lazy 5 is exactly what some local
schools are doing.
In the last year and a half, federal authorities have cited Lazy
5 for 21 violations of animal welfare laws, and the
feds have also opened a formal investigation into the roadside zoo. One giraffe's hooves are so overgrown that she
has to walk on her heels. She has suffered this painful,
debilitating condition for more than a
The zoo has also been
cited for leaving a deer to languish with a hernia for more than a month after euthanasia
was recommended, failing to properly care for a deer with a large wound that
was infested with flies, failing to shear sheep who were left panting in heavy
fleece in 86-degree weather, and allowing dangerous, unsupervised public
contact with animals. The list goes on and on, and PETA
is appealing to all local schools to stay away.
local school takes children on field trips to the zoo or circus, click here for tips on reaching
out to your principal to get these cruel field trips off the list.
being used by a circus in Chile for nearly six decades, Ramba, a female elephant who spent her off-hours living in a parking lot, has been transferred
to a safari park, thanks to the efforts of local residents who
fought for her release. Ramba is being treated by an elephant specialist in hopes
that she can be made healthy enough eventually to be transferred to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. But even if she's
not up to the trip, Ramba's days of performing stupid tricks are over.
The lame and sick elephants traveling with Ringling Bros. and
Barnum & Bailey Circus also deserve a
here to urge the U.S. Department of
Agriculture to follow up on the record fine
that it imposed on Ringling by seizing the circus's worn-out and ailing elephants.
have voices. They cry out when they are being skinned alive for their fur, being beaten and forced to perform painful tricks, or having their throats cut before being hacked
apart for their flesh. Animals express their pain, but often, people don't
understand or they choose not to listen.
animal advocates, we must raise our
voices alongside animals' and put into words what they can't. Whether we are
calmly explaining to someone at the dog park that his or her dog might be
yelping because the animal's prong
collar hurts or telling a friend
that her mascara was smeared
into a bunny's sensitive eyes, we have to speak up.
Animals need us to.
If you haven't yet
made a New Year's resolution, how about this: Never remain silent when an animal is hurting. Just one small voice
can—and often does—save animals from cruelty and abuse. How will you use yours?
anyone ever told you that ending animal abuse is your middle name? Meet a man
for whom fighting cruelty is his first, middle, and last name. PETA Foundation staffer Dan Carron has legally
changed his name to CircusesHurtAnimals.com. As
he admired his new driver's license, we asked him what he thinks life will be
like as a website.
Whose reaction are you most looking
forward to? Perhaps restaurant hosts who call out, "CircusesHurtAnimals.com,
party of four"?What a great
reason to eat out more! Yes, I think
daily run-ins with people will be the most interesting. I use a debit card a
lot, so I will be signing CircusesHurtAnimals.com for people constantly.
What does your mom think about your name
mom always encouraged me to speak out against all forms of cruelty, and when
she learned about the abuse
involved with circuses, she was happy to have a
son named CircusesHurtAnimals.com—although she
still calls me Danny.
Do you think that you will get much bigger birthday
was part of the plan!
What is your ultimate goal with changing
want to use every chance I get to tell people why they should boycott circuses
that use animals. After people have visited CircusesHurtAnimals.com and have seen the elephants
chained for up to 100 straight hours and have seen the baby elephants who were torn
away from their families and beaten
bloody with bullhooks, I think they will stop
supporting this abuse.
to join CircusesHurtAnimals.com in slamming the circus? Get started right now
with PETA's addictive new iPhone game, Circus Slam!
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.