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Circus’s Elephants Kept Out of Maine

Written by Michelle Kretzer | June 12, 2012

When he learned that Topsy, an elephant used by Piccadilly Circus, tested positive in two tuberculosis (TB) screening tests, Maine’s state veterinarian, Don Hoenig, barred the circus from taking her into the state. Since Piccadilly didn’t want its other elephant, Annette, to perform without Topsy, neither elephant will be forced to perform in Maine.

Elephants such as this one are in danger of suffering the same fate as Topsy

Hoenig is adhering to the 2012 Guidelines for the Control of Tuberculosis in Elephants recommended by the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA), which aims to prevent, control, and eliminate disease. The USAHA recommends that elephants who test positive for TB should be restricted from all travel or public contact for a year since the disease is highly transmissible to humans, even without direct contact. PETA has repeatedly urged state and local health departments to protect the public when circuses are in town by prohibiting the exhibition of elephants who have reactive TB screening tests.

Elephants used by circuses have a heightened risk of developing active TB infections because their health is compromised by the constant stress of traveling inside filthy, poorly ventilated boxcars. They are also chained for up to 100 hours at a time and forced to perform unnatural and sometimes painful tricks. Multiple elephants used by Ringling Bros. and George Carden Circus have tested positive in TB screening tests but are still being forced to travel and perform.

Because of the fragile health of TB-positive elephants and the risk to the public, PETA has repeatedly asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make adherence to the USAHA guidelines a national requirement. The USDA even announced its intention to do so, but it has yet to act.

Please e-mail the USDA and ask it to protect elephants and the public from circus owners who sacrifice safety for profit.

Commenting is closed.
  • Norm says:

    Even if these shows weren’t horribly abusive to animals, who the hell finds this kind of crap entertaining anymore? I went to a circus with my school when I was in 3rd or 4th grade and I was bored out of my skull.

  • Deutsch Übersetzung says:

    Oh my God! How can people do that!

  • Darek Kubicz says:

    I’m speechless and heart broken.I think everything had been said already by the normal people, but the boneheads don’t listen and don’t hear it because they don’t want to. As long as they find paying audience nothing wil ever change. You know what to do. Ignore the shows. Don’t go. Make at least one more person to do the same, and one more, and one more. Spread the word. People sometimes don’t think and the have to be presented with the reality. Then they’ll say “That’s rigight, this isn’t right”

  • carol says:

    This animal looks sick and immatiated – did anyone else think so? Perhaps PETA should go in there and see what is going on and get that animal checked out.

  • Lisa Maxstadt says:

    Make this a huge international petition!! Not some “letters-sent-to-someone’s-secretary” activity.

  • Caricat says:

    We protested the circus a few weeks ago and I am so disheartened that the USDA isn’t inspecting more frequently. The animals at the Cole Bros circus had no water for at least 5 hrs. They also are using the evil Tim Frisco and poor baby Val is sadly not free from him. They also have a baby. I’m losing sleep over this!

  • Helene says:

    This chained elephant breaks my heart. What can I do to help?

  • Maria Garcia-Sineriz says:

    Elephants are the living proof an animal can grow strong on eating leaves. They have been on this planet at the same time than us. Please leave them alone.

  • alan vint says:

    Inhumane poor animal it should not be treated this way!!!!!!!!!!1

  • Sanjay Wadher says:

    This must stop

  • Kat Zambo says:

    I dont understand people. HOW can people abuse animals, others and themselves. What is going on? How is this going on?

  • sara says:

    STOP using elephants for your own benefit. Think of them

  • Sue says:

    STOP USING ELEPHANTS!!! This is abuse! Please stop!

  • Angelique Van Schalkwyk says:

    Elephants are intelligent and compassionate sentient beings who never deserve to be treated like this. This is cruelty to the worst extent. Stop this abuse and exploitation of these exquisite beings.

  • Anne Ravikumar says:


  • luluARA4ever says:

    This is GREAT NEWS….however Maine seems to be VERY behind the times, when the Royalhanford circus came to bangor me last month it was only myself and another activist that protested. We will NEVER give up<3<3<3

  • Roy M says:

    The USDA needs to act NOW to protect these poor creatures. These poor animals deserve the best protection we can provide.

  • Jane Moss says:

    Anyone who participates in the suffering of any lIving creature – SHAME ON YOU … Anyone who chooses to ignore the pain & suffering of any living creature SHAME ON YOU TO … silence is everything to be ashamed of … jane moss, UK Birmingham.

  • chris clark says:

    Please treat elephants humanely

  • Sarah says:

    This picture of Topsy makes me sick, angry and sad all at the same time. He looks so unhealthy! And two feet chained! I would like to see using elephants to perform banned and not because they can transmit TB but because it’s cruel! I can really see the suffering of this elephant in this picture.

  • Mandy says:

    Hi ~ I’m not so great on writing letters or expressing myself about the horrendous treatment of these beautiful animals and was wondering if there is an on-line petition ? Thank you 🙂