Written by Michelle Kretzer
brought "The Cruelest
Show on Earth"
to Tampa Bay, Florida, this week, it was met with a hardy crowd of animal protection
advocates—and a group that was a bit, well, shorter. Children showed up to
protest Ringling with handmade signs depicting elephants who were beaten
and proclaiming, "Kids Know Better."
Out of the mouths of
babes—and into the minds of many. Help the awesome kids in your life get
involved with PETA Kids.
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!
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.
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan
Update: Animal friend and philanthropist Bob Barker is paying the entire cost of shipping Toka, Thika, and Iringa from Toronto to the PAWS sanctuary in California.
The following was originally posted on November 25, 2011:
To thank the three members of the Toronto City Council who spearheaded the vote to send the three elephants at the Toronto Zoo to a sanctuary, we sent them each a box of vegan chocolates and a Compassionate Legislator Award certificate. The City Council voted 31 to 4 to allow Iringa, Toka, and Thika to leave the freezing Canadian winters behind and spend the rest of their days roaming with other retired elephants at California's spacious Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary.
Elephants in Canadian zoos—including Lucy, the lone elephant in the Edmonton Zoo—spend much of their time indoors since they cannot tolerate the winter cold and snow. They often suffer from arthritis and other painful ailments as a result of the lack of exercise and standing on hard surfaces for prolonged periods. While the compassionate city councillors recognized the need to send the three Toronto elephants to a sanctuary, zoo officials were battling to send Iringa, Toka, and Thika to another zoo. But last night the zoo voted to send the three elephants to PAWS.
Please click here to send a polite email to the Toronto Zoo thanking them for their compassionate decision to send Iringa, Toka and Thika to the PAWS sanctuary.
Great news: After
more than a year of pressure from PETA, the Animal Protection and Rescue League,
Animal Defenders International (ADI), and celebrities—including Charo and Switched at Birth
star Constance Marie—the Santa Ana Zoo in California has announced
that it will discontinue cruel and dangerous elephant rides.
This is a big deal
for the elephants, who are dominated and controlled
by bullhooks—barbaric training devices that resemble a fireplace poker—as can be
seen in video
footage from ADI that shows that trainers
from Have Trunk Will Travel, the company that provided elephant rides for the
zoo, beat and shocked elephants into submission. When not working, the
elephants spend much of their time chained by two legs, barely able to take a
step forward or backward.
Elephants are highly
intelligent, social, and curious animals who deserve better than being forced
to plod along in circles all day while being prodded by a bullhook for people's
amusement. Elephants who are subjected to the constant threat of physical
punishment—like those who provided rides at the zoo—are also more prone to
dangerous and unpredictable behavior and present an unnecessary safety risk to
Please click here to send a thank-you note to Santa
Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido and click here
to thank Gerardo Mouet, the executive director of the city's Parks, Recreation
and Community Services Agency, for making the compassionate decision to end the
elephant rides. Be sure to add a P.S. to Mr. Mouet to ask him to make the same
decision for the Orange County Fair since Have Trunk Will Travel provides the rides
there, too, and Mouet is on the fair's board.
The record penalty
paid by Ringling Bros. and Barnum &
for violations of federal animal welfare laws has so far made no difference for
the lame and suffering elephants the circus forces to travel and perform for
months at a time. So PETA has sent an urgent appeal to the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) asking that the agency order a comprehensive, independent
evaluation of the elephants and prohibit Ringling from taking elephants in
distress on the road.
Accompanied by PETA's captive
wildlife specialist, two veterinarians with decades of elephant experience
attended multiple Ringing shows and expressed serious concerns about the health
and well-being of eight elephants. One elephant was observed with an abscessed
toenail (foot problems are the number one reason why elephants in the U.S. are
euthanized), and another had diarrhea.
All eight displayed
severely abnormal behaviors and have extensive scarring from being struck with bullhooks.
Fifty-four-year-old elephants Aussan and Sarah
have shown a dramatic decline in their physical condition during the past few
The experts also saw
a zebra escape from an enclosure during a show and a tiger whose tail was caught in a cage
cannot wait while the USDA pats itself on the back for penalizing Ringling.
Please click here
to urge the USDA to take immediate enforcement action to get Aussan, Sarah, and
all the other elephants suffering for Ringling off the road for good.
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
the thought of sitting in a car for hours on end with whining kids, a
hard-of-hearing grandma, and a cigar-puffing uncle this Thanksgiving weekend
makes you feel queasy, imagine making the trip in a poorly ventilated boxcar with no
heat. Upon arriving at your destination, instead of being greeted by welcoming
family members, a hearty meal, and a warm bed, you're prodded into a march to an
arena basement, where you're chained to a concrete floor until being poked and jabbed
into the ring and forced to perform meaningless, repetitious, uncomfortable,
and even painful tricks in front of a screaming crowd.
is a snapshot of the lives of the elephants who are dragged from one circus
show to the next—but a new bill before Congress could give elephants,
tigers, and other exotic animals used by circuses a reprieve.
Jim Moran of Virginia has introduced H.R. 3359, the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act,
which would, among other measures, prohibit exhibitors from forcing animals to be
transported for more than 12 hours without a break and ban forcing animals to perform if they had
traveled within the past 15 days, effectively prohibiting circuses
from trucking the animals around the country for months at a time.
Internal Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus documents
show that elephants used by the circus are chained for up to 100 hours
straight (and an average of 26 consecutive hours per trip) while traveling between cities. Not
surprisingly, Ringling opposes the bill and has called it an "attack" on "tradition."
is spending mega-dollars to oppose H.R. 3359, which is why it is so important
that you take a moment to click here to contact
to ask him or her to support the bill or to thank your legislator if he or she
is already a co-sponsor. Let your representative know that animal abuse is not
a tradition worth supporting.
Matthew Tosh | cc by 2.0
A female African
elephant named Umoya was found lying on the ground with severe injuries Thursday
morning at the San Diego Zoo
Safari Park. She died shortly thereafter. Umoya
was one of seven
elephants ripped from their home in Swaziland in 2003 and shipped halfway
around the world to the California zoo. PETA and other animal protection
organizations had filed a
lawsuit to try to prevent their capture
and had even offered to pay to move the elephants to another part of Africa.
Since no caretakers
were present when Umoya was injured, no one knows exactly what
happened to her, but it's likely that her injuries were sustained during
a fight with another elephant. Umoya's babies, Phakamile,
4, and Emanti, 18 months, are now orphaned, just as their mother was when she
was taken from her homeland. Umoya's family said goodbye and paid
their respects, and
her babies were the last to leave.
Elephants share intensely close bonds, and they nurture
and protect each other. While playful roughhousing is common, aggression and
fights are exceedingly rare. In a study reported in the journal Nature, behaviorists found that
elephants with traumatic experiences during their formative years—like baby
elephants who see their families slaughtered during culls, which is what
happened to Umoya and the other seven elephants the zoo took from Swaziland, or are
taken from their home and hauled thousands of miles away to a strange and
frightening environment—often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. If
one of the elephants snapped from the stress of captivity and attacked, Umoya,
of course, had no way to escape.
Every ticket purchased to a zoo helps perpetuate
this cruel cycle. It is time to close elephant exhibits, leave elephants in
Asia and Africa where they belong, and move those in zoos now, like poor,
lonely Lucy in Edmonton, to a sanctuary.
by Jennifer O'Connor
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.
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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.