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New York City’s Bravest Balk at Ringling Stunt

Written by PETA | September 4, 2009

Firefighters from New York City’s Engine 245 are heroes in our eyes, and not just because they put their lives on the line for people in need.

When asked to participate in a publicity stunt for Ringling Bros. by washing one of the circus’s elephants, the firefighters resisted.

Unfortunately, while this engine company might have realized that Ringling was resorting to a cheap stunt in the hope of finding something—anything—that would distract people from the circus’s abuse of animals, city officials weren’t on the same page.

Despite the fact that it’s the firefighters’ job to protect the public, not to hawk circus tickets, the higher-ups in the city government pressured the NYFD to go along with Ringling’s scheme.


franklinnow / CC
Firefighter and Ringling


So, for trying to do the right thing and for staying focused on their (vitally important) jobs, PETA is recognizing Engine 245 with our Compassionate Fire Department Award.

As for those folks at City Hall who decided that the best use of firefighters’ time is to shill for Ringling, what the heck were you thinking?

Written by Jeff Mackey

Commenting is closed.
  • SAM says:

    ALAN J GERSON contributed to the lives of young people as a member of the Board of the ChineseAmerican Planning Council and the Advisory Boards of the Puerto Rican Family Institute’s New Arrivals Youth Group and the St. Anthony of Padua afterschool program. A longtime supporter of the Project Open Door Service Center and the Caring Community Gerson contributed to a better quality of life for seniorcitizens. A supporter of the arts he is fighting to create a folk music museum and affordable artist workspace. Please vote for him in District1 Council election on Septemer 15th. To continue his good reforms.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    Why doesn’t PETA find a way to use this picture on a billboard to protest Ringling in some way? In a pring ad PETA could say “If this elephant could dial 911 it would not be for a bath…it would a plea to rescue her from her tormentors. BOYCOTT ALL CIRCUSES WITH ANIMAL SLAVES!!”

  • kris shulfer says:

    WTF?? i cannot once again believe what i am seeing!!

  • Jane Kirkby says:

    Such unspeakable crimes on beautiful intelligent majestic Elephants should not be tolerated in todays society. Animals are not ours to be exploited for human entertainment.

  • felicia marie says:

    it is disheartening to imagine the people of new york out of emergency response teams at anytime…not to mention to support and advertise an animal abuse angency… the only good thing is the elephant was given a break from his usual unhygenic and abusive environment!

  • S Morris says:

    Shame on New York ! need to say much else the whole world knows these animals endure torture and horror as a daily life style while still imprisioned in the circus.

  • Beth says:

    Ew!!!!!! I hate the circus! Good for these firefighters!

  • Diva says:

    What is the big deal?

  • AAG says:

    In NYC it is controlled predominantly by the Deomocrats. People that live here need to contact them and let them understand how unacceptable this is to elephants and their dignity. The Cruelest Show On Earth! NYC has the poor horses overworking in Manhattan and the RB Circus abusing other creatures NYC is a cesspool of cruelty for animals. Animal advocates need to help the suffering creatures in NYC and vote out any opposed to compassion for animals.

  • Rex's Mom says:

    This artical from the NY Daily News is too long to post but I will just give some parts of it City Hall turned an engine company into a bunch of clowns by forcing them to wash an elephant for a Ringling Brothers photoop the firefighters union charged yesterday. The “public relations stunt” jeopardized the safety of Coney Island residents because Engine Co. 245 was out of service for a halfhour Wednesday Uniformed Firefighters Association President Steve Cassidy said. He said it was ridiculous for them to put a company out of service to wash an elephant. A spokesman for the FDNY agreed the company “should not have been out of service.” But he said that no emergencies came in during that time. The FDNY Chief of Department initially shot down a request to have the company participate in the circus’s event. After everyone at the fire department said no the Bloomberg administration ordered them to do it. Feld Entertainment which owns the circus insisted it never contacted the FDNY or City Hall but coordinated the event with Community Affairs at the NYPD’s 60th Precinct. Feld said they have a great relationship with the police and fire departments on Coney Island. A Feld spokesman said “To us it was just a given that they would participate.” The police department’s role was just to control traffic. Cassidy said Engine 245 should not have been used to pamper a pachyderm to promote the ‘Boom a Ring’ circus that has been drawing big crowds in Coney Island this summer. The publicthe taxpayerswere not well served. Local residents agreed. I am very angry that this circus is drawing big crowds. Looks like the Cruelest Show on Earth is doing very well I am sad to say. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is an idiot! If I lived in NY I would not vote for him in the next election.

  • Lulu says:

    City officials need to stop getting on their knees every time Ringling pushes to invade NYC whether it’s Coney Island which I’m boycotting BTW or this crap. Not only does it make me mad but also ashamed to be a New Yorker.

  • ava says:

    Wonderful food for the fire department. Heros.

  • Jay says:

    Who EXACTLY were the legislators that pushed for this to happen and pushed for this corrupt company to make money using NY tax dollars?