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Nothing ‘Great’ About a Circus That Beats Elephants

Written by PETA | August 19, 2009

Our friends at Animal Defenders International (ADI) have just released footage from their undercover investigation of the Great British Circus.



If you’re like me, you just had déjà vu. ADI’s undercover footage of elephant beatings is sickeningly similar to our footage of Ringling’s elephant beatings. That’s because the routine abuse of animals in circuses is universal.

While Ringling lies through its teeth about its treatment of elephants, the Great British Circus claims to follow the “code of conduct” set forth by the European Circus Association (a mouthpiece for circuses), which states, “Training must not … cause physical injury or psychological stress” and “… our animals are treated like members of the family … just like your family pet.

Which family? The Manson Family? In my family, we don’t twist our cat’s tail, and we don’t strike our dogs’ snouts.

In an alarming twist, Ringling Bros. plans to visit Europe. If you live across the pond, please take action so that Ringling isn’t given the chance to swap bullhooks tricks of the trade with its British elephant-beating counterpart.

Written by Karin Bennett

Commenting is closed.
  • tamara says:

    and i cant understand if we have proofs why dont animal inspectors take care of people who are in charge directors etc. .. if british has animal law than they are breaking the rule that follows the punisment money or prison.. isnt that right? greetings from slovenia

  • hailey says:

    i thank that they shoud not have taking all animals out of their one home the wilde and i thank that all animals shoud have the right to be free tn the would

  • Fiona says:

    Sorry for being so naive I didn’t realise they still used elephants in circuses. Thought it had been banned in this country for 20 or 30 years. Utterly barbaric.

  • Nadia Woods says:

    I personally do NOT get the fun in watching eliphants stand on two feet nor do I enjoy watch tigers or lions do tricks. I mean look at Cirque du Soleil. They are if I’m not mistaken one of the most popular and famous circusses in the world and they really are amazing. And the best thing they don’t need animals for that!

  • nikki says:

    why hasnt anything been done about this yet? anything keeping an animal from it’s natural state is unfair to their right of existence they should be left to live in their natural habitat and observed from a distance. Elephants do not belong in Britains climate for a start and animal circuses are a sick outdated tradition that needs to be ceased. many of These elephants are stolen from their mothers corpse as babies broken then chained up for most of their lives forced to perform out of fear of being beaten in the name of our entertainment. its a disgrace They feel pain suffer emotional deprivation and long for the joys of freedom and to be with their own kind They have endured centuries of abuse and cruelty at the greedy hands of man and its time we set them free from a life of pain and misery.

  • Wayne Nuttall says:

    As to where circuses find these dispicable people who work for them. It’s not ALL of them but a vast majority are running from the law. In America there are hundreds who are illegal immigrants. Very easy to hide in the big top if ya need a place. Like they say if you’re beating on animals… you’ll probobly be a serial killer.

  • lisa says:

    I have sent a complaint of animal abuse to the RSPCA expressing my deep concerns for all the animals in the care of Great British Circus it makes me soo upset thinking right now these animals are lonely scared unhappy and frightend makes me wanna go there and rescue them myself dunno where i could put them though my garden isnt big enough lol. We need to come together as a British Nation and say enough is enough and help these animals they dont have anyone else……

  • lisa says:

    No repy from Great British Circus or Defra i just hope the animal orginistions are not ignoring this and just letting these animals suffer not just the elephants but the tigers and other animals they have have read disturbing reports from people whom have been to the circus and one particular report on a young lady whom witnessed the elephant trainer using the hook on the elephants ears in the ring the tigers whipped in the face backing away from their trainer in the cage and also a donkey they have whom entering the ring was lame and having problems walking. This is downright abuse and soo concerned she went to see where the elephants were being kept then asked one of the keepers how old they were he replied “dont know” she then asked what happens to them when they are too old to perform he replied “dunno sent back to India i suppose” i dont know why the RSPCA have not stepped in to help these animals if you had a donkey or tiger in your garden and someone complained they would soon be round knocking on your house it makes me soo sad to think these animals right now are lonley sad frightened and depressed. Something needs to be done now As a British Nation we cant leave them anylonger.

  • emma says:

    this is the email addy for the ringmaster at the ‘not so great british circus’ ive just sent another email asking why it states on the wb site and i quote ‘the great british circus does not condone any mistreatment of animals’ when in reality adi’s undercover video shows clear levels of violence ect ect.. also i state im ashamed to be british while this level of cruelty is going on. i also say that i have a feeling the only time the elephants were free to roam was the only day they took the ‘happy’ picture for the web site and i hope they get shut down and they should be ashamed of themselves. The email itself was quite long and angrily but well writen im calling for the folks in other countrys to do the same so we can get our feelings known. on the web site they claim activists like peta and adi are doing it for money and they dont have the full and proper facts so as well as attacking the animals they are attacking us that care about them. lets wipe the smug grins from their greedy little faces. please help us here in britain thankyou.

  • neville says:

    I have written to Defra to protest several times about UK circus animal abuse but no joy! Try

  • emma says:

    Lisa i wouldnt hold your breath in waiting for a reply as i emailed ringling 5 times no reply and emailed british circus 4 times no reply they are ignorant and dont want to admit their guilt. I am currently stalking them and sending them an email every 2 days to tell them how disgusting they are and how we dont want them in our country it wont do any good but it gives me a sence of satisfaction to know they are recieving hate mail every few days lol. ive also emailed defra for anyone who wants to help us the email addy is the more people put the pressure on the better it will be for the animals. im currently in the process of finding out if any the supporters of the britsh circus so if i find owt new out i’ll let u know.

  • Linda says:

    Thanks to John Carmody for providing the URL. At the moment I’m maxxed out on seeingreading about animal abuse and will check out their site and watch this horrible video later. I’m ashamed of the human race for how we treat animals. If any idiot can think of a way to useabuse any kind of animal they do it.

  • karen adams says:

    could all animal circuses just be shut down. we have not evolved at all. animals feeltoo bad man does not

  • Rex's Mom says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if when the Ringling circus goes to Europe they will open up the Colosseum to have animal massacres again like they did thousands of years ago. On opening day 71 A.D. I think the Colosseum murderers killed 5000 animals! Ringling tortures and kills many animals themselves!

  • John Carmody says:

    Well done to Animal Defenders International for coordinating yet another hard hiting investigation this news has also broke in New Zealeand. Well done again ADI. Their website is to check out more.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    All circuses that feature animal acts must close.

  • lisa says:

    I totally agree 100 with emma we need to email anyone we can think of that will listen to us these beautiful defenseless aimals rely on the British Nation to be voices for them and help stop the abuse they suffer this is the email i sent the great british circus I am writing this email to let you now how deeply shocked and saddened i am and hundreds others across Britain to how you treat and abuse your Elephants after watching the Undercover Investigation on PETA and YouTube. On your website you state you condone any mistreatment of animals that they are free to roam around their accommodation to shelter if they wish and an ample paddock where they can graze and play so could you please explain why these beautiful gentle animals are systematically abused chained up for up to 11 hours show signs of distressing disturbing mental behaviour and also the very disturbing evidence of the abuse still carrying on when the animals are in the ring why Lars Holscher states on the website “Like children elephants come first” but is filmed stabbing one of the elephants in the foot with a hook. If you have not already seen the undercover investigation i think you should and if you are not upset by what you see and hear the elephants cry out n pain and fear then you are not human. We as a Nation are very upset and want answers as to why you treat your Elephants in the same way as Ringling’s do and have no compassion respect or regard for your animals or their welfare. I am waiting to hear back from them if i ever do. I have also emailed Defra whom the circus claim work closly with and whom their inspectors reports claimed the animals where not showing any signs of distress no injury’s and seemes well cared for and happy…. Excuse me do they loo happy????? I have also emailed the RSPCA about my deep concerns for the well being of the animals. If anyone knows of anyother organisations to contact please let me know. Its soo easy to post comments about how concerned people are but actions speak louder than words I hope we are a caring nation and are not afraid to soeak up for the elephants and the other animals they have in their circus who nows what abuse they are suffering. I will be contacting the National papers aswell Im not scared to soeak out for these animals they dont have anyone else.

  • emma says:

    im from britain and im disgusted that 1 we treat our elephants in this way after claiming to be a nation of animal lovers 2we would allow ringling in to our country. i will do all i can to make many britons feelings known to our government. im on an emailing mission as from now and i will leave no stone unturned. i know many many britons that will be equally disgusted by this and word will be spread.

  • SimbaK2K says:

    I’d rather not have them anywhere near Britain or Europe. Hopefully Italy will pull the shows before it goes any further.

  • Mary Ellen Skinner says:

    Jesus! Where do they find these despicable people who work for these circus’s?

  • Gina says:

    OH NO NOT AGAIN! Lets FIGHT for those elephants shall we?

  • Brien Comerford says:

    British animal lovers must unite and take over.

  • Rachel A says:

    First the vivisection numbers soar and now this I can honestly say that I am ASHAMED to be British! Fellow brits let’s unite spread the word do something about this before it takes hold on the next generation.

  • Matt Greenwood says:

    This is terrible I infact live in Britain have already took action because this horrific torture on these innocent animals has to stop NOW!