Written by PETA
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
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan
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.
Bobby and Moira Roberts,
the owners of Britain's Bobby Roberts Super Circus,
have been charged in connection with the appalling beating of an elephant named
handlers were caught on tape pummeling with a pitchfork and a club. Anne has
since been moved to a better situation, but the Robertses will still have
to answer for causing Anne to live in misery,
chaining her continuously, and allowing her to be beaten.
It's time for U.S. government officials to be
equally active. Elephants used by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus are routinely beaten with bullhooks and traumatized during
abusive training sessions.
Click here to ask the U.S. Department of Agriculture
to stop ignoring, dismissing, and deferring
Ringling's violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.
by Jennifer O'Connor
actor and Miss Chicago 1946 Cloris
has sent an appeal on behalf of PETA to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel asking that when
Ringling Bros. and Barnum
& Bailey Circus comes to town today, city authorities keep in mind local ordinances that
prohibit cruelly forcing animals into undue exertion and harboring sick or injured animals unless they are under the care of a veterinarian.
Ringling's last stop in Chicago, federal
officials cited the circus for numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act,
including failure to provide a young, chronically lame elephant with adequate
care. In the ensuing year, independent elephant experts have found
that a number of elephants (including Sarah,
who collapsed in August) traveling
with Ringling are chronically lame and exhibit signs of life-threatening
arthritis. Yet Ringling continues to haul these sick and aging elephants across
Please join Cloris
by calling Mayor Rahm Emanuel at 312-744-3300 and follow up by sending a polite
e-mail to him, his chief of staff,
and his press office asking
that authorities ensure that Ringling comply with Chicago's laws prohibiting cruelly
forcing their elephants into undue exertion.
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.
Update: Because it is illegal in Ohio to use a bullhook
on an elephant, PETA is offering a $5,000 reward to any arena employee who
documents use of the bullhook if it leads to a citation against Ringling Bros. circus.
Originally posted October 4, 2011
star, animal defender, and Ohio native Chrissie Hynde has sent a letter to Cleveland officials to remind them
that there is a ban in the state against using prods
like bullhooks and "hot
shots" on animals in circuses and asked for confirmation
that humane authorities would make sure Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
doesn't use them on elephants when the circus comes
to town next month. In
response the letter, the mayor wrote that the city shares Chrissie's concerns
and that "[a]n inspection will be conducted and the event monitored to
ensure that the use of bullhooks and other devices that cause harm to circus
animals are not used during the Cleveland event."
be watching to make sure that the mayor keeps his word, but we won't be
watching the circus, and neither should you.
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
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
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.
by Jennifer O'Connor
Imagine having to perform strenuous physical tasks even though you were suffering from diarrhea and abdominal discomfort so severe that you were taking pain medication. That's just another day in the life of Banko, a 35-year-old female Asian elephant traveling with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus who was forced to perform even though she was sick.
Of course, this is the same Ringling show that is dragging around ailing elephant Sarah, who collapsed last month while being loaded into a boxcar in California. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Ringling for failing to provide Sarah with adequate veterinary care and for requiring Banko to perform (doing so was inconsistent with promoting her good health and well-being).
The USDA also issued a citation to Ringling for handling animals in a way that causes injury after a handler closed a cage door on the tail of a 9-year-old tiger named Kimba, who suffered a laceration as a result. Ringling gave every appearance that it had something to hide when it denied federal officials access to the employee who was responsible.
Tell every parent you know what's really going on at Ringling Bros. Ask them to avoid supporting circus cruelty by refusing to buy a ticket.
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.