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USDA Cites Ringling for Elephant Abuse

Written by PETA | July 11, 2011

PETA has obtained copies of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection reports that describe repeated citations against the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for failing to adhere to the bare minimum regulations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

According to the most recent USDA inspection report, Ringling has failed to provide adequate veterinary care to an elephant named Sarah who is apparently suffering from an infection: According to Ringling’s medical records, Sarah has a history of pus oozing from her vulva and now also has a significantly elevated white blood cell count. But handlers have been ignoring orders from the circus’ senior veterinarian to rinse the infected area twice a day, and there was no documentation that this ailing elephant’s blood work was even reviewed. Indeed, Ringling did not express concern about Sarah’s high white blood count until the USDA raised questions. Sarah is clearly not receiving the care she needs, and her condition could become fatal if she doesn’t receive proper treatment. Yet Sarah is still on the road with the circus and is being forced to perform night after night. PETA is calling on the USDA to require Ringling to remove her from the road immediately so that she can receive the care that she needs.

Last November, the USDA cited Ringling for failing to provide veterinary care to another elephant named Sara who is underweight and chronically lame. Ringling was cited yet again for transporting animals in trailers and boxcars with broken, protruding metal trim, wires, and sharp edges, despite the fact that Ringling’s own medical records documented that elephants had already been injured by poorly maintained equipment.

An independent elephant expert also observed elephants used by Ringling at recent performances and reported elephants with several injuries, including a bloody foot, a fresh puncture wound, and extensive scarring. In addition, elephants were so stiff—likely with arthritis—that they had trouble moving.

Please never attend a Ringling performance and urge the USDA to take action to remove these ailing elephants from the road.
Written by Jennifer O’Connor

Commenting is closed.
  • Migdalia says:

    I am very suprised that in the USA..there are animals suffering, and no one is doing anything to save them. I saw in the news someone get arrested for saving straits cats in her home, because it is ilegal to have 15 cats in your home, but yet, Ringling brothers, hits, torture, and kills their elephants! USA is good to take our tax money for none sense, why not to stop cruelty, my guess is they agree with Ringling Brothers so they can continue taking their tax dollars….I am so disappointed at our government and agencies.

  • Roswitha Czeikowitz says:

    warum werden die zuständigen nicht ANGEZEIGT: schickt sie in die Wüste. Wir haben Verantwortung für diese herrlichen Tiere.

  • Janet and F. Steven Zaso says:

    *We pledge to never support any organization that is cruel in anyway to animals. We will move to an even more vegan diet. We will pressure the USDA in any way you need to stop these horrible practices. These “handlers” no nothing about these animals, other than torture and violence. Thank God there is a horse whisperer and a dog whisperer to show these tactects are not necessary on any animal. These “handlers” belong in prison. Donation about to be made. God bless the people strong enough to witness and not get involved so the videos could be made. I don’t think we could be as strong

  • Lo says:

    Lets stop this abuse of any performing animal once and for all. Animals are not here for our amusement or for paid entertainment. They should be living their life out in the wild not captivity.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I agree with another comment. One stated wee can’t trust USDA and that is true. They are more for the big corporate businesses. The animals cannot protect themselves. Elephants are a very social, family oriented animal.

  • Tharindu Muthukumarana says:

    According to my knowlege about elephants these elephants are suffering. Tharindu Muthukumarana

  • Sharon says:

    This is continued abuse for these poor elephants. I feel this will never end. I understand PETA does what they can but why isn’t someone just take her away and let Ringling fight to get her back.There is no way anything can be done and resolved legally. I donate monthly to everything possible and all this video footage I am sent is horrible. Calves smashed on the head. I can’t stand to look at this stuff anymore and I feel there is no end.

  • Tory says:

    IT’S TIME FOR A CONGRESSIONAL HEARING!!! Chester Gipson needs to be fired. There are just too many elephants that are living not just miserable lives, but sick lives that are not being protected by the Animal Welfare Act.

  • Christine says:

    We can’t even trust the USDA with our food (one example: read what the Skinny Bitch book has to say about the USDA), let alone caring about a living being. As long as these poor animals have been suffering at the hands or Ringling, just proves that the USDA could really careless about animals. The USDA exists to please big corporate businesses–they are the government! Wake up USDA! It’s time to move out of the dark ages and into the 21st century, and put Ringling out of business once and for all!