Skip to Main Content
Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

Another Elephant Beating Caught on Tape

Written by PETA | June 23, 2011

PETA is calling on authorities to take action in the wake of a vicious beating of an elephant traveling with the Cole Bros. Circus. Last week in Lanesboro, Massachusetts, a citizen took video footage and gave an eyewitness account of the beating of an elephant, who was repeatedly hit with a bullhook

The handler yelled at the elephants to “move up” and “back up” while striking a docile elephant in the face with a bullhook with an audible “whack.” He took a step back and swung the bullhook like a baseball bat, striking the elephant twice on her face and shouting, “Back up!” while she tried to do just that. Still yelling, the handler chased the elephant as she hurried over to some other elephants who were standing nearby.

Says the witness, “This was not an ‘attention getter’, this worker reared back and swung the club with all his might, twice. You could hear the whack as the club struck the elephant. My son and I were shocked. I do not think the worker realized we were there.”

This outrage is business as usual for the circus: We’ve filed three complaints against Cole Bros. Circus about aggressive bullhook use and other abuses in the past six weeks, and each has been accompanied with authenticated video and/or photographs. PETA is calling for local humane authorities to assess the elephant’s condition, and we’ve offered to pay for independent experts to examine her.

Please join us in also asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to have a veterinarian with expertise in elephants immediately inspect the elephants with Cole Bros. and to take all appropriate enforcement action.

Written by Jennifer O’Connor

Related Posts



Post a Comment

If your comment doesn't appear right away, please be patient as it may take some time to publish or may require moderation.

By submitting this form, you are agreeing to our collection, storage, use, and disclosure of your personal info in accordance with our privacy policy as well as to receiving e-mails from us.

  • Aimee Wiederhold says:

    Stop the cruelty. This precious animal doesn’t deserve to be treated like this!!!

  • Kristin says:

    stop the cruelty

  • Tharindu Muthukumarana says:

    Those people without brains are trying to teach the elephants tricks. Tharindu Muthukumarana

  • Marilyn Glasgow says:

    I commented on here earlier, but I guess it didn’t take. I have seen these videos of the circus elephants being beaten before and those of us who love animals have emailed, signed petitions and written and called the USDA for years to no avail They don’t care. These beautiful, peaceful animals could turn on the monsters who beat them, but they don’t. Every one of these scumbags belong in jail. Someday our animals will be free. If countries like Bolivia and England can ban circuses with animals why can’t the U.S and Canada? You know, the progressive, forward thinking countries?

  • Marilyn Glasgow says:

    This is so disturbing and sickening. That monster wielding the bullhook should have it used on him, after which he should be charged with animal abuse. The USDA is useless, because we who can’t stand to see this torture have been after them for years, and they do nothing. It is simple. They don’t care. As for the few on this board who think it is perfectly alright for these poor animals to be treated this way, what world are you living in? Too bad there are still people with your mindset. Shame on you. Can’t you see how these elephants quietly put up with this, when they could easily turn and trample their torturers? They are peaceful quiet animals who have been stripped of their dignity. Other countries have banned these disgusting spectacles, but the U.S and Canada carry on just as if they were forward thinking, progressive countries. Awful.

  • grady says:

    If people heart of hearts truly love animals then they won’t eat,wear and Not support sports and entertainment that uses and abuses them. Boycott all these events, it is not natural and conducive to their habitat.

  • PV says:

    We are all connected!

  • anti circus gal says:

    I cant believe that this kind of proof is presented to the USDA and they turn the other cheek. It is despicable!

  • Jenny says:

    I protested a Cole bros. Circus last year with a handful of other PETA supporters. Everyone pulling in to the circus were… uneducated fools. And oh, were they so mad at us for holding our signs when they pulled in, yelling,cussing… Guess they didn’t enjoy the guilt we made them feel.  I couldn’t even turn around to look at those poor elephants, it literally gives me chest pains when I think about it.

  • Bluepointgal says:

    Ellie, you said it all. Well done. And a huge thank-you to my fellow Western Mass activist who filmed this. Good work, but sorry that your son had to see such an upsetting display.

  • Ellie says:

    Kat&It! How can you make such ridiculous statements? If you knew anything at all about animals, especially elephants, you’d SUPPORT legislation which prohibits the use of any live animals in circuses/attractions. The reason we need such legislation is clear. These animals live dreadful, unnatural, painful, fearful, depressed and often insane lives, for the sole purpose of enriching the purses of their owners/handlers/trainers. They are abused, beaten, screamed at, tortured and terrified, day in and day out. They are chained unmercifully, when not in “training” or performing. Proper vet care is often absent. They are forced to perform when sick and/or suffering from painful, chronic arthritis, injuries and other maladies. These madmen/women are going to get every ounce of profit they can out of these majestic creatures, for as long as possible and the miseries of the animals are of little concern as long as they can force them to get up and perform one more time. Ask yourself what kind of sick, deranged person could so treat an animal. The rage, anger and hatred inside these humans has to be huge. And guess what? They easily find an outlet for their madness via the animals. They can beat and abuse them, behind closed doors to their very deaths, and who’s going to stop them? These are animals with no voice and no choice. If we cannot speak up on behalf of the animals, then we should at least be ashamed to condone such treatment of any living, breathing, feeling creature. YOU CLEARLY MISS THE ENTIRE POINT HERE. Elephants should NOT be confined and handled in the manner they consistently are, for profit, period! If you believe the “wacking sound to be the whip in the air”, then how about you stand where the elephants stand and, after enduring the “wacking sound” of the bullhook, let us know how much it hurt afterward??? Where did you ever get such a ridiculous explanation anyhow??? And don’t even get me started about “horse races” and whips! You’re sorely misinformed on that topic as well, if you believe the jockey’s whip never touches the horse. Do you think these elephants cry out in pain, merely due to a wacking sound? Sounds do not draw blood, m’friend. Are you nuts??? Perhaps your comments belong over at the website of “Have Trunk Will Travel”, where they are so bold as to solicit donations to help “protect” Asian Elephants, as well as donations for “Mahouts”!? They state that the funds donated, go toward housing, caring for and training the elephants. Talk about AUDACITY! HTWT claims to train their elephants with kindness and treats. Yet Animal Defenders International have released several video’s of how they really “handle/train” their elephants. Check out the video’s and then tell us about how the “wacking sound” is only the hook passing through the air. As evidenced by these videos and others over many years, even very young baby elephants are abused in circuses everywhere. They start their training incredibly young and the pain and misery lasts a lifetime. Misery is all they’ll ever know unless they are rescued or seized and placed in sanctuary where they can live out the remainder of their lives in some semblance of peace, free from abuse, pain and the demands of performing “unnatural” tricks. No longer the object of someones unchecked madness. Find out about and support these reputable sanctuaries. Support something! Anything at all is better than making uninformed statements and supporting a sad, abusive trade which you apparently know nothing about. Whatever forum you belong in with your comments, it certainly isn’t here. Get informed/educated on this topic and then come back and share your enlightenment. Perhaps then, those of us who care about the welfare of abused/neglected/tortured animals, who understand the seriousness of the need to stop this kind of madness, can engage in a different dialogue with you.

  • Skunked says:

    If you want to control them you half to show them whats up. This girl has a better life than one in the wild. You peeps are crazy

  • beatriz aragon says:

    kat&it: so you are saying since elephants are BIG/FAT we should BEAT them?? ok great so now every BIG/FAT PERSON that doesnt listen should be BEATEN them correct?? THIS IS WRONG HOW COULD YOU SAY THIS ISNT ABUSE?!?! DONT YOU SEE THE ELEPHANTS MOVING AWAY FROM THE ANIMAL THATS A HUMAN!?!!?

  • pj56 says:

    Why did the people just take the video and not call out to stop them? Call the police; do anything?

  • Annie says:

    Kat&IT, I find it very strange that you would declare youself an animal activist ! So according to you as long as they dont actually hit the elepahants what they are doing is ok?Scaring them, intimidating them and taking away their love and soul is ok? According to you????? Its a real shame!Maybe that is why they beat the animals? Because they are “huge”…. Shameful!

  • South African that Cares says:

    As a South African I know lot about Elephants. These animals, like monkies, are practically human in their behaviour. They suffer from heart ache and depression and have even been known to CRY at the death of one of their herd. Beating an elephant is NEVER a solution – they can only be trained through respect and reward. TRAINER – a disgusting excuse for a human being!

  • Anna says:

    asian elephants and chimps are in th endangered list any purpose deaths or even accinted deaths will send the “people” to prison for a very long time. they should go to jail for “endangering” a already endanger animal. Doesn’t Peta already know this. I put a website to show everyone it isn’t mine at all. I am mad at peta not knowing the endangered list that claims they love animals.

  • Michelle Boulanger says:

    This is such a disturbing issue in many circus acts across the world. I hate it. It makes me cry and sick to my stomach. I have written to the U.S Department of Agriculture to examin those poor elephants and i have started a pettition against them on facebook. Thier winter quarters are in my town and i am determined to bring them down. Animals are not ours to own. Not even pets. There is no price tag on a life.

  • Jennifer says:

    Kat&IT, I would say, if you are an animal rights activist, you are very uneducated. Elephants have very sensitive skin. They can even feel a bug bite – htat is why in the wild you ill see them throwing dirt on their backs – it’s a natural mosquito detterant. These bullhooks actualy make them BLEED. Does that sound like it wouldn’t hurt? These bullhooks DO touch the elephants skin, that is why they bleed and that is why they rub dirt on their bloody wounds so people cannot see them. I think you should get out of the whole “I am an animal right activist” crap and find a new hobby.

  • Pontus says:

    This just pisses me off. That type of humans should not be near any animals. At all.

  • peta4Life says:

    Wow that video was great to show people what happens to animals keep them comming guys!

  • Kat<3Veggies says:

    Ugh- okay I love animals- really though this is NOT abuse, I didn’t see anything that was wrong. An elephant is HUGE- it has to be trained in a way that the animal and trainer do not get injured. I have watched tons of videos and I assure you the elephant wins over humans every time. The wacking sound is the whip in the air, just like a horse races. They don’t actually TOUCH the animal at all! Extermist are never a good thing even if its a good cause. PETA and Ingrid Newkirk have gone way to far, as a vegetarian and animal activist I do not support the beliefs of this organization. Might as well be a part of ALF. No different than crazy religious people blowing up abortion clinics. Come on now people! Be rationalistic!

  • Annie says:

    What I don’t understand is how you could possibly hit an elephant?? They are such peaceful creatures, so loving and beautiful! You have to be one sick individual to derive pleasure from this! Or to even see this as “your job”

  • Shirley Holman says:

    By now it’s blatantly obvious that people in circuses cannot be trusted to be around animals. I’m sick to death of animals being cruelly treated in the name of human ‘entertainment’ and won’t be happy until animal circuses are banned, period.

  • me says:

    help  these poor animals, hope the handler rots in **** awful





  • Erika says:

    Cowards! Cowards! Cowards! I hope that all animal abusers die a long and painful death. In the meanwhile let’s get them out of business and rescue those poor animals who have no one but us good people to protect them. I am studying law so I can protect their rights. The department of agriculture better step up. Peta needs help. Circuses buy off many unehical people, we need to protest louder.

  • Marie Karam says:

    I cant watch the video because it is saddening but I can imagine what it is , It is about some sadists humans who feel so inferior that they have to torture helpless species in order to feel power ! Less they know that thinking that they are “superior” to other species ” does not take them to torture animals but to give them the same rights as humans have to live peacefully in their habitat and to defend them to have this right!