Written by Jennifer OConnor
has sent Compassionate Legislator Awards to members of the Margate, Florida, City Commission for unanimously voting to ban bullhooks, electric
and other cruel devices specifically designed to inflict pain on animals. The
move means that the Cole
Bros. Circus, which has visited Margate in the
past and whose handlers have been caught on tape beating elephants with bullhooks, should be barred from bringing elephants into the
sharp metal hook and tip on the end of a bullhook
can rip elephants' skin and leave bloody wounds and
abscesses. The tricks that animals in circuses and traveling shows are forced
to perform go against their natural instincts, which is why handlers must beat
them into submission. When not performing, animals in circuses spend most of
their lives caged or chained in trailers and railroad boxcars while traveling
from city to city.
Cities and counties all across the
country have enacted bans or restrictions against shows
that hurt and exploit animals. You can help by contacting your own local
officials to ask them to initiate proceedings to do the same. E-mail our Action Team for help getting started.
On the heels of the
record $270,000 penalty paid by Feld Entertainment—the parent
company of Ringling Bros. and
Barnum & Bailey Circus—PETA is renewing
our call for the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service (FWS) to deny the company's
application to import
eight tigers and a leopard in violation of the federal
Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The ESA prohibits importing endangered species except
for "scientific purposes" or to benefit the survival of the species. It's
beyond a stretch for the circus to claim that it's helping tigers by jamming them into tiny cages and
whipping them into submission. Many of the violations that Ringling paid a
penalty to settle involved big cats, including a tiger who suffered a
laceration after her tail was slammed in a cage door and a lion who died of
heat exhaustion in a sweltering boxcar while crossing the Mojave Desert.
The FWS has a duty
to protect animals from harm and should not cave in to the demands of an
influential corporation that just agreed to pay a huge fine for alleged violations
of federal law.
Written by PETA
of chronic neglect of elephants held by Florida-based exhibitor Jorge Barreda, who
uses elephants for rides and rents them out to circuses like UniverSoul, PETA is calling
on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to confiscate the elephants and
relocate them to a sanctuary so that
they can receive the treatment that they urgently need. USDA inspection reports
dating back to April indicate that Barreda has repeatedly failed to provide
vital care for the elephants' feet, which can lead to serious, and even fatal, abscesses,
infections, osteomyelitis, and other problems.
Foot problems are
extremely serious—they are the number one cause of premature death in captive elephants in the U.S.,
who are forced to stand for long hours on hard surfaces instead of walking for
up to 30 miles a day as they would in the wild. Despite the necessity of foot
and other animal exhibitors often neglect this critical aspect of elephants'
Please avoid all circuses
that use elephants and other animals and urge your family and friends to do the
same. Click here
for a list of animal-free circuses.
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
Remember how PETA called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA) to order Ringling
Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus to
remove a sick elephant named Sarah from the road? Well, Sarah is still being prodded into boxcars and arenas, despite the fact that
she is suffering from a chronic infection and arthritis—which is why The Daily Show correspondent
and star of the highly anticipated Aaron Sorkin HBO series More as This Story Develops Olivia Munn
has added to PETA's pleas with one of her own:
Sarah even collapsed earlier this summer in California while being loaded onto
the circus's train, yet Ringling had her up and performing in the very next
Please click here to join PETA and Olivia now in calling on the USDA
to seize Sarah and transfer her to a reputable
facility where she can get the care and treatment that she so desperately
needs. And urge the agency to comply
with its legal duty to notify the U.S. attorney general of
the serious dangers to Sarah's health so that a temporary restraining order or
injunction can be obtained to protect Sarah's well-being.
Beatings, bullhooks, and betrayal: A scathing 10-page
article in the November issue of Mother
Jones magazine titled "The Cruelest Show on Earth" lays bare Ringling Bros. and Barnum &
dirty secrets. Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter
Deborah Nelson has slammed the door shut on any doubts about the circus's entrenched
culture of animal abuse and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA)
repeated failure to take meaningful enforcement action against the circus.
Nelson details the painful and premature deaths of baby
elephants Kenny, Benjamin, and Riccardo and how the USDA barely addressed their
cases. She also discusses the trauma, terror, and painful wounds
that babies Doc and Angelica endured when they were forcibly removed from their
mothers. Ringling employees acknowledge that elephants suffer "hook boils"
(infected bullhook wounds), and records and interviews document that babies are
dragged away from their frantic mothers, that elephants spend days on end
chained in railroad boxcars, and that nearly all the elephants are suffering
from lameness. In addition, by 2008, more than a third of Ringling's elephants
were infected with tuberculosis.
USDA officials have admitted that they take an arms-length
approach to Ringling. Kenneth H. Vail, who served as the USDA's legal counsel
for many years, said, "If I were an elephant, I wouldn't want to be with
Don't wait to borrow a copy of the magazine—run out and buy
the November/December issue of Mother
by Jennifer O'Connor
An elephant used by
a circus in Vietnam
trampled an 11-year-old
girl to death after the girl and some friends snuck into the area where the
elephant was shackled. The elephant, who had reportedly been taunted by children
earlier, lifted the child up and threw her down, repeatedly stepping on
Elephants are hardwired
to walk for miles every day. When their freedom
of movement is reduced to the length of a chain, they quickly become despondent, frustrated,
and unpredictable. In the U.S. alone, captive elephants have killed 15 people and
injured more than 135 in the past 20 years.
Never buy a ticket
to circuses like Ringling
Bros. and Barnum & Bailey that still
exploit elephants. Instead, enjoy spectacular cruelty-free productions like Cirque du Soleil
by Jennifer O’Connor
Blogger Tonya Kay
jumped through hoops to try to tell Cole Bros. Circus'
"side of the story" in a two-part series posted on EcoHearth.com, but without much luck.
working with Kay was offered three invitations to visit the circus, observe the
animals, and speak with circus management—all three of which were later
rescinded by the circus, which was apparently unconvinced by his claim that he
planned to write a "shining review." Apparently, the circus is
unwilling to speak to any journalist who might be secretly harboring plans to
write anything resembling an unbiased report, as opposed to a glowing fluff piece.
It's little wonder
that Cole Bros. Circus
didn't want to expose the less than "shining" aspects of its
operation: that elephants are beaten with bullhooks and tigers are jammed into
transport cages, where they spend most of their lives.
In the end, Kay
concluded, "I can't write a positive story on the Cole Bros. Circus
because there's nothing positive to report."
You can read Tonya
Kay's complete story here.
And to help get the word out to others about Cole Bros.' dirty secrets, contact
PETA's Action Team for
help organizing a protest.
by Jennifer O'Connor
Tuesday night, in a vote that met with thunderous applause and a standing ovation, the Irvine, California, City Council made the groundbreaking move to simultaneously ban rodeos, circuses that use exotic animals, and retail sales of cats and dogs, making it the first city in the country to ban all three in one fell swoop.
PETA had notified supporters about the pending Irvine vote and urged them to attend the meeting or contact City Council members, and their input was obviously heard loud and clear. Thanks to Irvine's new laws, elephants will be safe from bullhook beatings, horses and bulls will no longer break their backs after being goaded into bucking, and puppy mills will no longer be paid to churn out litters of sickly, unsocialized puppies.
To help pass similar laws in your community, contact your city council members, or e-mail Info@peta.org. For updates on any proposed animal-related laws in your area, join PETA's Action Team.
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan
After leading the charge
for hundreds of protestors demonstrating outside the Ringling Bros. circus, Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels found
time to give an
why she is fighting for elephants and how people can get involved. Getting the
word out about circus cruelty "is the easiest thing to get behind,"
Many elephants used by Ringling suffer
from crippling arthritis and other debilitating ailments because they spend most of their
lives in boxcars and chains.
Follow Jillian's lead: Post notes
on Facebook and Twitter urging parents and grandparents never to buy tickets to
Ringling. Write a letter to the editor. And contact PETA's Action Team to help plan your own
demonstration when the circus arrives in your city.
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.