Written by PETA
A: The Wrestler director Darren Aronofsky!
That's right, the man best known for his portrayal of human suffering in movies such as the award-winning The Wrestler is now focusing on a different type of suffering … elephant suffering.
As a Brooklyn native, when Darren learned that notorious elephant abuser Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus would be setting up shop at Coney Island all summer long, he sprang into action faster than you can say RoboCop. He penned a powerful letter to the folks at Taconic Investments—who are donating the use of their Coney Island land to Ringling—asking them to reconsider their offer or, at the very least, impose restrictions that could reduce the suffering of elephants and other animals used by Ringling.
Not a Hollywood heavyweight? You can still follow Darren's lead by sending your own letter to Taconic and New York City officials letting them know that you won't stand up for animal abuse at Coney Island.
Written by Christine Doré
Wow! Shepard Smith of The Fox Report went on a rant about how Americans will not tolerate torture, declaring, "We are America. We don't torture. And the moment that is not the case, I want off the train."
I'd like to believe that he was speaking out against the abuse of elephants in circuses, who suffer routine chaining and beatings with bullhooks by trainers in Ringling Bros. and other traveling acts.
Fade to daydream sequence …
Written by Karin Bennett
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
Most kids love animals, but not all kids are aware of the horrors that elephants and other animals in circuses face, so PETA and Ellie Elephant decided to tell local kids what goes on behind the big top. Ellie was a huge hit with children and parents, handing out activity books to show kids why circuses are no fun for animals. The kids were excited to get their hands on the fun workbooks, and the parents appreciated the educational message. Check out these photos of Ellie making friends and spreading the word about why elephants would rather be left at home in nature with their families than endure the chains and whips used by circus trainers.
If your kids missed out on Ellie's visit but still want to help animals in circuses, they can check out this fun comic and visit PETAKids.com to find out the facts and get active.
Written by Lianne Turner
Twelve children were treated by paramedics on Saturday when an elephant who was being forced to give rides at the Indiana State Fairgrounds bumped into the mobile staircase on which kids stood awaiting rides, knocking it down. The rides were being given between performances of the Murat Shrine Circus. Luckily, the kids only suffered minor injuries, but people involved in other elephant-ride incidents haven't been so lucky.
The staircase collapse isn't the first dangerous incident involving an elephant used by a Shrine Circus. In 2005, a trainer working for the Shrine Circus in Fort Wayne, Indiana, was stomped to death as he loaded elephants onto a trailer. In 2003, an elephant at the Shrine Circus in Muskegon, Michigan, escaped from a tent and fled into a busy downtown area. In 2002, two elephants with the Shrine Circus in Dunn County, Wisconsin, bolted out of a circus tent, scattering frightened circusgoers.
In other Shrine Circus news, we've learned that an exhibitor whose bears were used during a Shrine Circus performance last year at Knox County Middle School in Tennessee was cited by the USDA for serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including seating people within 20 feet of the bear without a barrier of any kind. We've written a letter to the school principal urging him to ban circuses with animal acts from appearing on school grounds in the future.
Many people don't realize that the Shriners do not operate their own circus. Shrine temples either hire an existing circus or put together a collection of animal exhibitors and other acts that perform under the Shrine Circus name. Many of the animal exhibitors the Shriners hire have deplorable records of animal care. Click here to read our factsheet on the Shrine Circus.
People, run—don't walk—away from any circus that uses animals. And whatever you do, don't let any guy in a fez talk you into placing your tots on the back of some poor elephant whose own kids have been taken away from her and who now spends her days being chained up and jabbed with a bullhook. Today just might be the day she snaps. And really, who could blame her?
Written by Alisa Mullins
With Watchmen hitting theaters recently, comics are having yet another moment in the pop-culture sun. And if you're a fan of the indies, you probably know Bluewater Comics. You may have read their "sequels" to some of your fave Hollywood mythology films—like The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, Clash of the Titans, and Jason and the Argonauts—or you might be more familiar with their monthly books, such as 10th Muse. But I bet you didn't know that the people behind Bluewater are huge PETA supporters. Although, based on how awesome they are, I'm sure it's not exactly a shock.
Our friends at Bluewater have just created the latest ad in PETA's "Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" series, featuring four of their biggest stars—Emma Sonnet from 10th Muse, Diana Moore of JudoGirl, Scarlet of VSS: Nemesis Rising, and Isis from the Legend of Isis—posing au naturel to protest the cruel fur industry. Check out the ad below:
Why are the lovely ladies of Bluewater taking it up (er, off?) with the fur industry? Animals on fur farms spend their entire lives in cramped, filthy cages and are killed by neck-breaking, head-stomping, or anal or vaginal electrocution.
Who's the next comic book character you want to see in an ad for PETA? Let me know by posting a comment below. Personally, I'm voting for my man Hellboy (I just finished Darkness Calls and it was great!).
Written by Dan Shannon
On Sunday, a 45-year-old elephant named Annabel was euthanized after falling into a ditch that surrounded her compound at Emmen Zoo in the Netherlands. For more than two and a half hours, zoo workers tried to help the struggling elephant pull herself out of the ditch. Ultimately, firefighters used a truck to lift her out.
Annabel entered a deep state of shock. Once freed, the 3-ton elephant was unable to stand up, so she had to be euthanized. Heartbreaking images of her struggle can be viewed here.
The zoo was aware that elephants regularly fall into this ditch and strain to drag themselves out, but even after this tragic incident, a spokesperson has announced that the zoo has no plans to modify the elephant's outside area because of space concerns. If this horrible situation doesn't cause the zoo to think twice about the environment it provides for the animals, I shudder to think what would.
No animal deserves to live his or her life in a pitiful cage, but zoos have the obligation to provide—at the very least—a safe facility for animals. In the end, Annabel paid the price for the zoos' irresponsibility. It is time for the zoo community to stop capturing and breeding more animals to be put on display and to leave animals in their natural habitat where they belong.
Please, never support the cruel zoo industry.
As the highly anticipated trial concerning the abuse of elephants by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus rolls on, Kenneth Feld, the head of the company that owns the evil Ringling empire, has taken the stand.
On Tuesday, the multimillionaire CEO spewed his slick half-truths about how Ringling's elephants live (they live in cramped barns, where they are chained much of the time and are at risk of developing tuberculosis) and how bullhooks are just used to "guide" the animals. He actually said, "I don't view what I've seen as abuse."
Feld's self-serving double-talk is sickening, but this trial has him backed into a corner. The fact that he can no longer deny that circuses use beatings and chains to force majestic elephants into a lifetime of servitude is exciting news for elephants.
Now for those of you a-wonderin', here's a point-by-point refresher course on Ringling's checkered history of animal care. It'll help you see through this smooth-talking CEO's elephant pucky.
Written by Missy Lane
Unless you're a die-hard Britney Spears fan and regular visitor to her Web site, you heard it here first: The top-secret stage design plans for Britney's upcoming "Circus" tour will include no live animals.
That's right, folks, in an "EXCLUSIVE: STAGE DESIGN ANNOUNCEMENT" (seriously, that's what it's called, all caps and everything), Britney's tour designer had the following to say:
"We've taken the idea of a traditional 'big-top circus' and given it a Britney Spears twist. This circus is unlike anything you've ever seen before. It's sexy, fun, explosive, and full of surprises. … While avoiding such traditional circus elements as live animals, we've created something innovative and exciting using contortionists, dancers, lighting, fire, and other special effects." [emphasis added]
Omigaw! If I were 12, I would so be there.
You may remember that Britney ran into trouble with PETA a couple of months ago when we learned that she had used elephants and lions in her "Circus" video. We shot her a letter asking her to leave animals out of her Circus tour and—lo and behold—our wish has been granted.
Blayne Doyle, a retired Florida police officer, had several harrowing experiences during his many years on the force. He was shot and stabbed and was involved in life-threatening automobile, motorcycle, and airplane accidents. But if you were to ask him which event stuck out as the most frightening, he would tell you that it was the day he was forced to shoot and kill an 8,000-pound rampaging elephant named Janet, who was carrying a woman and five children on her back. Yesterday was the 17th anniversary of this tragic event. Sadly, not much has changed in the intervening years. For example, the Liebel Family Circus, which tours throughout Florida, is currently using an elephant named Nosey to give rides.
Blayne has reached out to the governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, asking him to ban elephant rides in Florida. You can read Blayne's moving letter here.
The most shocking part to me is that, in 2004, a circus worker reported that Nosey attacked him during an appearance in Clinton, Iowa. While the worker was tending to the elephant's water dish, Nosey hit him with her tusk, lifted him off his feet, and propelled him down an incline. The worker was rushed to the hospital and received stitches for a head injury. But somehow it's safe to let children ride on Nosey's back? I don't think so.
So, Gov. Crist, won't you please ban elephant rides in Florida? By doing so, not only will you send the powerful message that elephants should not be abused for entertainment, you might also prevent history from repeating itself.
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.