Written by PETA
Behold the power of the pen and the protest: Walker Bros. Circus has axed elephant acts from its lineup—and it seems that there's little chance the pachyderms will return. A spokesperson told KeyNews.com that the circus has "basically done away with using exotic animals in the show because of the [animal rights] activists."
PETA has long denounced Walker Bros. Circus for its abuse of elephants, many of whom were leased from Hawthorn Corp., which was forced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to surrender 16 elephants after the agency charged both Hawthorn and Walker Bros. Circus with numerous serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
It was the concern and actions of caring people that prompted Walker Bros. Circus to finally drop exotic animals from its lineup—and maybe the circus will eventually drop all animal acts. Let's remember this as we continue to rally against Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's shocking mistreatment of elephants and other animals.
Written by Karin Bennett
PETA and ZooCheck have been campaigning to convince officials at the Edmonton Zoo, deemed Canada's worst zoo for elephants by African elephant biologist Winnie Kiiru, to release its sole pachyderm prisoner, Lucy, to a sanctuary. We've reasoned with zoo officials. We've enlisted support from experts and celebrities. And we've called on caring supporters to write letters pushing for Lucy's retirement.
Unfortunately, it took proposed litigation against the city of Edmonton for zoo officials to make a pathetic attempt to improve Lucy's sad state and announce their "plan" to improve her life by putting her on a diet, giving her some sand to stand on—and possibly providing her with a treadmill.* We responded to this craziness with a full-page ad, which ran yesterday in the Edmonton Journal.
The zoo's policy of locking Lucy inside during the long, bitterly cold winters means that Lucy spends most of her time in a small barn. When she is allowed outside, she's primarily restricted to an enclosure that is less than an acre in size. It's no surprise that Lucy exhibits signs of mental distress, and her medical records reveal that she has been suffering from arthritis as well as chronic foot and respiratory problems.
It's time that Edmonton Zoo officials made the decent decision to help Lucy by retiring her to a sanctuary where she can enjoy warmer temperatures, acres of space to roam, and the company of other elephants. Please help by sending your polite comments to Edmonton's mayor and city councilmembers.
Stay tuned for updates.
*I think if Edmonton zoo officials were serious about enriching Lucy's life and improving her health, they'd sign her up for some Jazzercize classes. I'm obviously joking, but building a jumbo-sized treadmill for the overweight elephant is just as ludicrous. (Am I right—or am I right?)
This morning, PETA Vice President Dan Mathews appeared on the Today show to talk about the court case involving Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Alert PETA Files readers will recall that Ringling has been sued by a coalition of animal protection groups over what they allege are violations of the Endangered Species Act. Namely, they're arguing that beating elephants with bullhooks and keeping them chained for hours or even days on end are no way to treat an endangered species.
Here's a little refresher: Over the course of the six-week trial, reams of evidence were trotted out to support reports that Ringling keeps elephants chained for an average of more than 26 hours at a time, sometimes for as many as 60 to 100 hours straight, and that elephants often suffer from bleeding wounds after being struck with bullhooks. Former Ringling employees testified about the horrors they witnessed while on Ringling's payroll, which included seeing an elephant who was violently beaten for a solid half hour.
The judge is still weighing his verdict, but in the meantime, Ringling is on trial in the court of public opinion. Kudos to Today for helping us expose Ringling for the sleazy animal-abusing con artist that it is.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Update: Michael Jackson has announced that he will not be using any live animals in his concert series at London's O2 arena. Click here for more info.
The King of Pop has a sordid past when it comes to the way he treats animals, but we were still shocked by Michael Jackson's reported plans to ride an African elephant and use other exotic animals during his upcoming 30-day stint at The O2 arena in London.
PETA Europe wrote a letter to The O2 to let officials there know about Michael's sketchy track record of animal neglect. The letter included some basic information about how exotic animals actually don't want to perform stupid tricks on a stage surrounded by screaming people, bright lights, and stage explosions.
So come on, Michael, pull a "Britney" and leave exotic animals out of your performances.
Written by Shawna Flavell
Today, lawyers gave their closing arguments in the court case involving Ringling's use of steel-barbed bullhooks and shackles on the elephants it forces to perform. Over the course of the six-week trial, the following evidence was presented:
Check back with the PETA Files in the coming months for an update on the verdict. We hope that the elephants win, but regardless of the outcome, the trial has already generated lots of deservedly negative publicity for this miserable circus. And that's a good thing considering how hard Ringling works to put a misleading, positive spin on clamping elephants in irons, dominating and intimidating them with bullhooks, and confining them to boxcars and arena basements for much of their lives.
When PETA told basketball star John Salley of an opportunity to help elephants in Chicago—the city that he helped lead to multiple victories while playing for the Bulls—he jumped at the chance.
There's currently a piece of legislation before the Chicago City Council that would ban chaining elephants. So John fired off a letter to the City Council asking it to vote "Yes" on the legislation. Salley says, "Passing this ordinance would send a powerful message to our children that mistreating other beings for entertainment is wrong. Like other cultural institutions that have caused extraordinary and unnecessary suffering (e.g., slavery, child labor, segregation), the unethical treatment and cruel chaining of elephants is an American tradition that should be relegated to the history books." So as John states in his letter, let's hope that the city of Chicago will seize the opportunity "to take the lead in this noble cause." After giving us our president-elect, the city has the chance once again to make history. Come on, Chicago!
Posted by Melissa Lane
Last week marked the one-year anniversary of baby elephant Hansa's death from herpes at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Activists braved the wind and rain to commemorate Hansa's brief life and demand an end to breeding at the zoo. The zoo, on the other hand, is preparing to artificially impregnate Chai, Hansa's mother, for about the 50th time.
Bruce Bohmke, the deputy director of the zoo, said, "She's fine. After a couple of days, from what I've read, they move on." Oh, really? Because from what I've read, an elephant never forgets.
I just got this email from Debbie Leahy, the director of PETA’s Captive Exotic Animals Department:
Sad news. A dear friend, Delhi, passed away on Tuesday, March 11. Delhi was the first elephant confiscation in U.S. history. After an extensive campaign by PETA, the USDA seized Delhi from Hawthorn Corporation and transferred her to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee after determining that she was in imminent danger from lack of veterinary care. Delhi had been suffering from abscesses, lesions, osteomyelitis, and severe chemical burns to her feet. She was originally captured in India and acquired by Hawthorn in 1974. At the sanctuary since November 2003, Delhi enjoyed leisurely grazing in the sun, playing with toys, and napping on a shady hillside with the companionship of many other elephants. She was lucky to have kind, nurturing care in her final years.
Sad news indeed. But it’s comforting to reflect that she escaped the horrible fate of most elephants held in captivity for her last years.
Jeff Corriveau knocks another one out of the park. Enjoy.
To check out the archives of past strips, click here.
We were recently informed by a whistleblower that Ringling trainer Joe Frisco Jr. was attacked by one of the elephants used by the circus, sustaining injuries severe enough to send him to the hospital. The source claimed that Frisco "has been pounding" on the elephant, which, given the Frisco family’s penchant for violently abusing animals, sounds about right to me. Joe’s brother Tim Frisco was caught on tape viciously beating elephants with steel-tipped bullhooks for the Carson & Barnes Circus, and you can watch video footage showing some of Tim Frisco’s “work” for the circus below. We’ve asked the USDA to look into this incident, so I’ll let you know how that investigation turns out.
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.