Skip to Main Content

9 Groups Unite to Block Ringling at the Border

Written by Michelle Kretzer | April 27, 2012

Animal advocates’ voices are being heard loud and clear today, as PETA and eight other animal protection organizations have joined forces to keep Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from taking “The Cruelest Show on Earth” abroad—including to Mexico, where animal protection laws are virtually never enforced.

Ringling’s Ridiculous Request

Ringling applied to export and re-import endangered Asian elephants and tigers based on an Endangered Species Act (ESA) exemption that permits transporting the animals for the purpose of enhancing the species’ survival. But animal rights groups from the U.S. and Mexico are calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to deny the application because the only thing Ringling wants to enhance is its bank account. Not only does dragging endangered animals across the border and beating them in order to force them to perform not qualify for this ESA exemption, it also flies in the face of what the ESA was designed to do: protect animals.

Big-Time Abuse Under the Big Top

Ringling just paid the highest penalty in circus history for its animal abuse—$270,000 for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). In the last few years, Ringling has racked up more than 50 violations of the AWA involving the care of big cats and Asian elephants. In fact, Ringling’s own documents admit what PETA’s investigation found: that its handlers beat elephants bloody with bullhooks.

But in the past, when the circus has gone to Mexico—where Ringling is exempt from even the minimal oversight that it receives in the U.S.—animal abuse has gone unrestrained. A Ringling handler was caught on video whipping a baby elephant in the face, causing the baby to screech and recoil. Handlers forcefully jabbed elephants with bullhooks all over their bodies, including inside their tender mouths and ears, and one handler was seen shocking an elephant with an electric prod.

What You Can Do

PETA will continue to fight to keep Ringling’s animals on American soil, where they have at least some protection. Meanwhile, please urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to seize Ringling’s ailing elephants and retire them to sanctuaries. 

Commenting is closed.
  • Lily says:

    what we do to our animals will be how we are judged.

  • patricia Cuenot says:

    Abusing and hurting animals for circus is from another era. Wake up its over.

  • Liliane says:

    just stop attending these circuses, so animal would not be abused. This a non sense, no matter which animal, they are helpless in front of a human

  • Shelly says:

    More education needs to go out to the public. The fact that these circuses still exist is because ignorant people pay to see it. Terrible. I want to believe, if the public was educated, that they’d have a heart and never see a circus again.I have faith in humanity.

  • Sophie says:

    Outdated and barbaric! Animal circus’ should be a part of history. How can we call ourselves a human race when some have no humanity. How can degrading wild animals to amuse people have a place in today’s society? Some people’s ignorance and behaviour shame me.

  • marianne baeckelandt says:

    This abuse has to stop.It makes me sick to see this.I will never attent circus shows and neither my Grand Children.

  • Lesa Miller says:

    Leave the wild in the wild. Don’t breed wild animals in order to habituate them in captivity & then have the audacity to call it wildlife conservation. And just because elephants & other wild species are in human possession doesn’t mean they can be tamed, happy, or under control. It’s only a matter of time before someone is hurt and/or killed (watch the news & google it), including the animals you claim to love. Confining them to cages when they grow up so everyone stays safe is nothing less than imprisonment of the body, mind & soul. Don’t believe me? You try doing it for a month, year or decade, then report back. Stop thinking w/a selfish, child-like attitude. Wake up circuses, baby animal photographers in shpg malls, pet owners, roadside zoos, breeders, & performing zoos/aquariums. Wild animals used for entertainment of any kind is cruel on levels you should learn about before participating in it.

  • Robyn Lamoreux says:

    Please, do not allow Ringling to take their animal abusing circus outside the US where they will have no one watching to ensure they do not beat and abuse the animals.

  • Renay Lang says:

    I am happy to read that Ringling Bros. has been fined for their abuses of animals. Why are they allowed to continue? In addition to being fined, punishment for animal abuse should be the removal of all animals in their possession. That is typically what occurrs with private citizens and other businesses (in my state anyway). If Ringling Bros. had any $$ sense they would embrace our ever changing environment and create shows based entirely on human performers and leave animals out of the show entirely. Look at the success of Circ du Soleil.

  • Dina says:

    If people could just understand that you can be entertained with no animals in a show, such as Cirque Du Soleil, this world would be a better place. If people could just stop! attending these circuses no animal would be treated like this.

  • Ele3 says:

    this cruelty needs to stop.Tell your friends.

  • Meli says:

    The abuse these elephants undergo for the entertainment of a few has to stop. In this day and age with the knowledge we have, circuses are an antiquated embarrasement