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City Officials Cave to Circus Industry

Written by PETA | September 12, 2010

Industry interests trumped elephant welfare when city leaders failed miserably to implement a new ordinance intended to protect animals in traveling shows in Sacramento. After the city informed Ringling that four lame elephants were not to be allowed to perform physically strenuous and painful tricks that would further aggravate their conditions, Ringling was allowed to bring in one of their paid relief veterinarians to overrule the decision.

According to Philip Ensley, D.V.M, a board-certified veterinarian who served as the associate veterinarian for the San Diego Zoological Society for twenty-nine years, Karen and Nicole, two of the elephants originally disqualified from grueling performances, have a long history of suffering from severe lameness and stiffness. Dr. Ensely spent over 1,300 hours reviewing 15 years worth medical records of elephants with Ringling and confirmed that Karen has long suffered from inflammation and “[s]evere lameness” as far back as 1996 and that Nicole suffered from stiffness, lameness, and swelling in her legs. Both of these elephants were observed limping out of boxcars in Sacramento.

Feld Entertainment, Ringling’s parent company, has a history of refusing to cooperate with investigations and threatening to pull its ice shows out of cities proposing humane legislation or any enforcement. On Friday, Sacramento city officials caved in to the circus’ intimidation tactics instead of enforcing an ordinance that was unanimously passed by the city council, leaving the arthritic elephants to hobble through shows all weekend.

Commenting is closed.
  • Francoise Phipps says:

    Surprised? NO

  • Barb says:

    After seeing these videos of the elephants I was appalled. I immediately forwarded this website to everyone on my e-mail list and asked them to boycott Ringling. I also asked them to forward this site to everyone on their e-mail list. I also wrote to Ringling telling them of my disgust. I ask that anyone reading this do the same. The word must get out! We must stop this disgraceful behavior! I just wish there was more I could do.

  • DANNYT41 says:


  • Ingrid says:

    If PEOPLE would STOP GOING to these things, that would definitely deprive them of $ to continue with this behaviour. Having said that, the council failed to use the power they had been granted by the PEOPLE to stop this unacceptable treatment of elephants.

  • PETA says:

    Re: Maralyce. Thank you for your suggestions! To help take action, please ask the mayor and the city manager of Sacramento to enforce a recently passed ordinance requiring that traveling shows that visit the city provide humane care to animals: And to help us implement your other ideas, please join the Action Team! – PETA.

  • Maryalyce says:

    When this stuff happens,please post the contact names e mail & phone # of the pro cruelty weaklings so people from all over can JEER them on. Dont they take a oath of office to uphold the laws? When we break a law, what usually happens????When they break the law, people need to take tough action & bring charges. Thanks for being there PETA.

  • Maryalyce says:

    Why don’t you NAME the city ofical in Sacramento so the voters can replace them…..Keep doing the great job you do. Please put names, phone #s, e mail of these cruel & uncareing persons so anyone interested can coment directly to them also. Put this info in the news paper nex to their circus ad. Get on the local talk shows & ask people to go to your web site. …Get the high school & college kids involved.

  • mlizza says:

    I am no going to lie, i have been completely blindedby what has been happening to circus animals. up until now I had never been to a circus but i brought my kids to one the other night and there were peta supporters there and i took a flyer, i was disgusted by what I saw on the flyer and immedietely came on your site. i have always been a supporter of all animals rights but never in a organized setting, but this video of the elephants made me so mad that i wanted to see the elephant grab the stick and whip the guy doing it to him. i want these circus to stop, i would rather see the animals doing nothing and it would still be cute instead of tricks they are being forced to do.. keep fighting.

  • Wendy says:

    How disappointing that the city chose the unethical path & caved to Ringling so that future ice shows would come to Sacramento. The city officials have no moral compass. Greed (in the form of making money for the city at future ice shows) took priority over decency. To approve of the cruel abuse of elephants was indecent, immoral and obscene.

  • Chrisann Johnson says:

    Peta i have faith in all of you and know things like will end soon. We cannot change all adult minds but the teaching of the children will change the world.

  • James says:

    So grateful for the continued efforts of PETA and others to bring these issues to light.

  • Linda says:

    This is awefull! It’s just about $$ for people.. I really wish they would eliminate the animal parts of the circus all together. I’d much rather pay for a full show of acrobats performing than seeing marching elephants and tigers being teased to perform acts. Reasons I don’t go to circuses anymore.

  • Tee says:

    this is horrible. These people are monsters. How can they allow the elephants to continue to suffer in these shows? And people wonder why elephants will attack umm maybe because they’re so mistreated! I am so disgusted by these ‘people’. those poor poor elephants. My heart is with them ‘

  • Sara says:

    This is a tragedy very terrible and sad news.

  • Stephanie says:

    Despicable… Stop exploiting the animals! P.E.T.A. please help stop the Kelley Miller Circus that is taking place in Itasca IL brought to us by the local Lions Club.

  • raquelwdc says:

    That’s just disgusting! If you’ve already got an ordinance that is fully supported by the city council why would you cave? The city officials had a great opportunity to set a precedent for Ringling they failed miserably.

  • Therese Korneliussen says:

    this is animal crulety. i hope you fry in hell you suckers