Written by PETA
In a protest called "massive" by a local television station, author and fitness guru Jillian Michaels led the charge alongside producer Sam Simon, Twilight's Christian Serratos, The Secret Life of the American Teenager's Renee Olstead, and hundreds of demonstrators outside the Los Angeles Staples Center to call attention to the abuse of elephants by the Ringling Bros. circus.
Numerous elephants used by Ringling Bros. suffer crippling arthritis—a leading cause of euthanasia of captive elephants—because they don't get the freedom of movement and exercise that they need.
"Their enslavement by the circus means [elephants] spend their lives in chains and stuffy train cars with no freedom to roam, and they suffer painful, fatal ailments that come from such a stressful existence," says Michaels.
Other compassionate celebrities who supported PETA's protest via Twitter include Sophia Bush, Kellan Lutz, Alicia Witt, and Sasha Grey, among others.
Please never attend any animal circus performance, and contact PETA's Action Team to help plan your own demonstration when the circus comes to your city.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
Animal Defenders International (ADI), which released video footage of an elephant, Tai, and others being hit with bullhooks and shocked with a stun gun, has filed suit against exhibitor Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT) for allegedly making misleading claims about how Tai was treated.
PETA Files readers may recall that HTWT is the same outfit that the Santa Ana Zoo contracts with to provide elephant rides, despite the risks to public safety and the cruelty to the elephants. (Readers can help by asking Santa Anna officials to get rid of these cruel and dangerous rides once and for all.)
Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for circuses to abuse animals and then lie about it. Ringling Bros. circus routinely touts its elephant care program, despite overwhelming evidence that elephants are beaten and chained and spend most of their lives crammed inside poorly ventilated, reeking railroad boxcars.
If you've ever bought a ticket to a circus believing that the elephants are treated well, you may have grounds for seeking redress. Please contact PETA for more information.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
In a stunning victory for animals, the British Parliament has voted to direct the government to ban wild animals in circuses. MPs across all party lines unanimously backed the directive, which, if followed, will end the use of lions, tigers, elephants, and other wild animals in circuses in England and Wales. More good news: Scotland isn't far behind in passing a similar resolution.
Despite overwhelming support from the public and the vast majority of Parliament, some in Prime Minister David Cameron's administration attempted to circumvent the ban by proposing regulations instead. The half-measure was met with unanimous opposition.
Animals used in circuses are torn from their families, beaten into submission, and forced to spend most of their lives in cramped transport trailers and small cages.
The fight isn't over quite yet. Parliament's vote isn't binding (it's an order, but the government isn't legally obligated to follow it).
Please visit PETA U.K. to urge the prime minister to impose a complete and permanent ban on the use of animals in circuses.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
shannonyeh.photography/CC by 2.0
China is saying "lights out" for all animal shows at its 300 state-owned zoos, telling zoos that they can either stop abusing animals in this way or be shut down. The circus act ban—which China's Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development passed in September 2010, earning it PETA Asia's Advancement in Animal Welfare Award—officially goes into effect this week, and already two zoos have shut down their circuses. Some of the cruel stunts used in these shows featured lions standing on horses' backs, bears walking tightropes, monkeys fighting each other, and live animals being fed to predators.
Banning these cruel shows could lead to improved conditions for other zoo animals as well. Last year, an investigation by the State Forestry Administration (SFA) revealed "more than 50 zoos where animals were suffering severely because of abuse." The SFA also received a PETA Asia Advancement in Animal Welfare Award for its investigation and the ban that it imposed in July 2010 on cruel circus acts.
Chinese zoos had defended the circus acts, saying that they made the animals "stars." But we're pretty certain there's not an animal out there who would prefer being beaten and forced to perform stupid, dangerous tricks to relaxing and playing with his or her family.
PETA Asia has been sending undercover investigators to zoos across China since July 2010 in order to monitor the zoos' compliance with the new policies, and the group is reporting violations to authorities.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
The U.K.'s Chipperfield's Circus—which has been exploiting animals since 1684(!) and was in the news following the beating of a baby chimpanzee some years back—has gone animal-free!
Between 1996 and 1998, a long-term investigation of the circus led to successful cruelty-to-animals convictions of the circus's owners, Mary and Roger Chipperfield; jail for the elephant handler; and the closure of three of the circuses owned by the Chipperfield family.
With your help, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus could join the list of circuses in the U.S. that have decided to do away with animal acts, but unfortunately, it has dug in its heels. Please watch our Ringling investigation, share it with your friends, and then contact our Action Team to start campaigning today to make it happen!
Tony Gonzalez of the Atlanta Falcons has been called "the greatest tight end of all time," but it's his efforts for animals that wow us. Indeed, he's sweeter than a Georgia peach.
Tony's latest move? He's urged the Fulton County Board of Commissioners to vote for a proposal, introduced by Commissioner Robb Pitts, to ban the use of bullhooks on elephants in circuses.
He notes PETA's "irrefutable evidence showing the persistent, entrenched abuse of elephants who are violently trained with bullhooks, starting when they are babies"—and points out that elephant sanctuaries never used bullhooks and that most zoos threw their bullhooks away long ago.
Circuses Shameful traveling elephant beaters such as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus—and Carson & Barnes Circus—will continue to use sharp, metal bullhooks and make gentle giants scream in pain unless these devices are banned. Elephants never forget. Please don't forget them—we're so close to making Atlanta a bullhook-free zone.
Written by Karin Bennett
Adult film star Joanna Angel has taken time out of producing, writing, acting, and directing to conduct a PETA interview about the injustice of forcing animals to do tricks in circuses. In the interview, Joanna points out that chained elephants, whipped tigers, and stressed-out horses don't perform because they want to—they do it because they know that they'll be beaten if they don't.
Joanna believes that only willing participants should be involved in the entertainment industry. This angel for animals also talks about the importance of adopting from animal shelters, the wonderful selection of vegetarian foods available, and "a lot of little things you could be doing" to help animals.
Spread your own sexy message by wearing one of our "Vegans Make Great Lovers" tees.
Industry interests trumped elephant welfare when city leaders failed miserably to implement a new ordinance intended to protect animals in traveling shows in Sacramento. After the city informed Ringling that four lame elephants were not to be allowed to perform physically strenuous and painful tricks that would further aggravate their conditions, Ringling was allowed to bring in one of their paid relief veterinarians to overrule the decision.
According to Philip Ensley, D.V.M, a board-certified veterinarian who served as the associate veterinarian for the San Diego Zoological Society for twenty-nine years, Karen and Nicole, two of the elephants originally disqualified from grueling performances, have a long history of suffering from severe lameness and stiffness. Dr. Ensely spent over 1,300 hours reviewing 15 years worth medical records of elephants with Ringling and confirmed that Karen has long suffered from inflammation and “[s]evere lameness” as far back as 1996 and that Nicole suffered from stiffness, lameness, and swelling in her legs. Both of these elephants were observed limping out of boxcars in Sacramento.
Feld Entertainment, Ringling’s parent company, has a history of refusing to cooperate with investigations and threatening to pull its ice shows out of cities proposing humane legislation or any enforcement. On Friday, Sacramento city officials caved in to the circus’ intimidation tactics instead of enforcing an ordinance that was unanimously passed by the city council, leaving the arthritic elephants to hobble through shows all weekend.
Circuses such as Ringling Bros. abuse elephants in so many ways that it's tough to decide which is worst. But when we polled people on our PETA mobile list, here's what they chose:
Which option gets your vote?
Text PETA to 73822 to participate in future polls and receive other alerts on your phone.
Written by Joel Bartlett
The following is a cross post from PETA Asia-Pacific's blog, The Hot and Sour Scoop.
Mention China and animals in the same sentence and visions of foxes and raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for fur often come to mind. But in what many hope signals the beginning of a turnaround, China's State Forestry Administration (SFA) has placed a landmark ban on animal shows in zoos and circuses throughout the country. This major milestone is why the SFA has been named the 2010 recipient of PETA Asia's Advancement in Animal Welfare Award.
The SFA's latest move means that the cruelest shows—ones that feature live feeding, tigers forced to jump through burning hoops, and motorbike-riding bears—will disappear. In fact, in order to give itself time to weed out the worst zoos and circuses, the SFA has imposed a moratorium until the end of the year on domesticating or breeding wild animals for these shows.
Moreover, all forest departments must review and reform their local regulations, management, and facilities regarding animal entertainment venues. New regulations are also expected to cover confining and breeding animals in zoos and circuses.
SFA's progressive action will do a lot to help animals in China, and you can do your part too. Don't patronize shows that feature live animals for entertainment—take a stand by signing our pledge against imprisoned animal "entertainers" today!
Written by Agnes Tam
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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.