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Ringling Elephant Sarah Collapses

Written by PETA | August 9, 2011

An elephant who was being loaded into a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus boxcar collapsed after struggling to climb the ramp, and according to an eyewitness, a Ringling crew member intimidated and forced the elephant to get up and into the railroad car. The circus was loading animals after finishing a run in Anaheim, California, and was on the way to Ontario, California.  Reports indicate that the elephant who collapsed is Sarah, an elephant whose removal from performances PETA called for last month because of her poor physical condition.

© Ameer Sanghvi


Many of the elephants forced to travel with Ringling are ill and in pain. Just weeks ago, two independent veterinarians with many years of experience with elephants analyzed video footage of Ringling’s elephant walk and opening night performance in Los Angeles and determined that one of the elephants “is clinically lame to the point of being crippled. Her condition is painful and she should not be performing” and another elephant with “a lump on [her] left upper leg demonstrates obvious pelvic lameness.”

Please join PETA in calling on Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait to make this the last time that Ringling comes to town and Ontario Mayor Paul S. Leon to allow an independent expert―not a Ringling lackey―to check on the elephant’s condition.

Written by Jennifer O’Connor

Commenting is closed.
  • Alessandra says:

    Respeitem os animais !

  • Paulette says:

    How can this be? These people have lost their hearts and souls, to treat an animal this way. How hard hearted and merciless to do this. This has to be stopped. There is no need for it.

  • caterina benello says:

    There is no fun in destroying the life of wild animals for our amusement; it is just cruel, sad, horrible. Why do not you understand that keeping and training wild animals for any reason is revolting. Give them back their dignity and let them have the life they deserve in a sanctuary as you took them out from their real life.

  • Cindy says:

    This bothers me so much it is hard to even read about it. I hope the animals turn on all of them.

  • lisa says:

    i will never ever visit circuses,animals dont belong there,i hope sarah is ok



  • Marilyn says:

    My dear Sarah, No one really knows how much you have had to suffer and for how long. Poor baby! I am so angry at humans, that I don’t want to be forgiving anymore. Judgement and justice is what I wish for any person who abuses animals. Elephants teach us compassion, respect, love and how to mourn. I cry out for you, Sarah and all your abused family and friends.

  • Nichole Graeber says:

    Elephants are smart, beautiful creaures and they deserve better than this, they deserve better than the Circus!

  • Tina says:

    This treatment of the elephant and all elephants is beyond repulsive. Why can’t the stupid circus operate without animals at their disposal. Animal activists should run with this, and what is to happen to poor Sarah, she is old, she should retire to a sanctuary. As long as a profit exists, animals will be tortured and abused, it is the mentality of our civilation and culture. No one cares! And to boot, a complaint was filed before this event, why wasn’t something done???? Unbelievable.

  • Karen Haines says:

    it breaks my heart to have seen this. It’s no secret that these circuses abuse these animals to the point where they can no longer function. These circuses should be banned by the Government. This is only cruelty to animals and we need someone to stand up and protect them!

  • amy says:

    emails sent!

  • Sue durrenberger says:

    It’s no secret that Ringling Bros. Circus is cruel to animals. When is the USDA going to take this elephant away from them and give her to a Sanctuary?? After she’s dead?? We need someone in authority to speak up and act out for the good of these elephants.

  • shane says:

    Anyone who goes to a circus for “entertainment” is a moron. The acrobats are often amazing, but that’s about it. At least they – unlike the animals — are there by choice. Otherwise,the clowns are creepy, the animals look miserable and it’s all way too loud and forced. That’s entertainment?

  • Donna Powell says:

    Is there anything new on SARAH’S condition? This is heartbreaking and I am praying for her.

  • Shamim says:

    heartbreaking! shame on us as human for doing this to the innocent animals!

  • squirt55 says:

    All circuses should be shut down and these poor, intelligent animals brought to a sanctuary where they can live in peace and happiness…then they won’t have to put up with these monsters who abuse them.

  • America says:

    It does not make sense to me when us humans can abuse or neglect something so beautiful as an animal, which they all depend on us, and we still believe that animals are put on this earth for food and to entertain us! This is heartbreaking!!! Each and one of us can change little by little by helping an animal in need that we find on the street 🙂

  • Bill Lindau says:

    There is no excuse for this kind of treatment for any living thing, not for any purposes and certainly not for entertainment. This must be stopped. It was enough to make this grown man cry!

  • Lynn says:

    Heartbreaking to read about these poor helpless animals. Good for PETA for trying to protect them.

  • Andrea says:

    I cant wait till judgement day comes so all tis inhumane madness can end. Human disgust me! Know your place!!!

  • Sandra bingham says:

    Is this for real??????????

  • Leslye says:

    This is wrong and the circus needs to be held responsible for this abuse!

  • Adam Lee Rahmat says:

    Oh no.. We need to do something. Reading this, all the way from South East Asia, I’m feeling the pain. I’m glad that our Singapore government had stop having circuses involving animals from performing in the country. God bless those poor animals.. :/

  • Debbie says:

    While animal exploitation exists there will be suffering. Putting human entertainmnent over animals welfare and rights is disgraceful. These sweet creatures should be in their own environment, living their lives.

  • annie bode says:

    Why are Ringling brothers allowed to get away with abusing animals? Please stop the pain and suffering of gods creatures at the hands of sadistic evil greedy dispicable so called trainers. Shame on everyone who allows this to happen.It makes me sick.

  • Susie Q says:

    Thank you Peta for being a voice for these sweet animals! All of these beautiful elephants need to go to a sanctuary like the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary — where they can roam free and just BE the sweet creatures that they are! In the meantime, we’ll rally with you at PETA to stop the circuses and get help for the animals that SO need it! Thank you thank you thank you for being so wonderful!

  • jenn.pierce says:

    I cried when I read this. We all need to be working on spreading the word about this cruelty everyday. We are their voice.

  • gunn nesbø says:


  • liagirl says:

    “The greatness of a nation depends on their treatment of animals. . .” Ghandi

  • Liagirl says:

    FORGET THE CIRCUS! How dare humans treat animals like this. . .to the point of pain and lameness. Let them be free in the wild or even the zoo is more fair than this. I am calling to all veterinarians to chip in and help these painful circus animals. Who knows how many more are like this.

  • Natalie Rose says:

    I am NEVER going to the circus and glorifying this obscene animal cruelty again.. this infuriates me to me the core. How can I help educate my community on this? Also, is there a way to contact the city of Ontario to see if they are allowing the elephants to perform?

  • Mark says:


  • Mellisa says:

    Please voice your disgrace and have this unnecessary practice banned. Really animals are not for our entertainment, they are for us to learn from and only interact with when they choose.

  • Janice Sacchetti says:

    Why can’t we just due away with this circus stuff all together! I had hope for this world but when I read this kind of news it breaks my heart and I become depressed….

  • Ashley says:

    All wild animal circuses should be shut down, including the ones who use whales and dolphins and call it education.

  • Ellienne says:

    Heartbreaking. Thank you for posting this story. Who would think that circuses are places of cruelty and despair for the beaten and abused animals? Most people have no idea.

  • N Pattni says:

    we do not need these beautiful animals in circuses, it must be stopped, refuse to go, where there are live animals, please please stop this horror.

  • Clarkstonmom says:

    It’s nice to ask Anaheim not to allow the circus to come there anymore, but why aren’t animal acts banned from all circuses everywhere? Shouldn’t this be what happens next? We need to end this cruelty. My vegan family would never frequent a circus, and everyone else should stop now as well.

  • tessa says:

    unbelievable that this kind of torment can go on and on! sad that the public cannot realize that this IS abuse of these wild animals. PLEASE STOP SUPPORTING THE CIRCUS!!! it’s the only way this hurt will END :'(

  • Erin Ide says:

    This just breaks my heart…I can’t see why RINGLING is in such denial of the health, wellbeing and happiness of these animals. I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE DAY THAT THEY ARE SHUT DOWN FOR GOOD!!

  • Whitney Summers says:

    Please stop this cruelty.

  • christine beresford says:

    This has to stop there is no meed in this day and age for animals to be performing , instead of the world going forward its seems to be going backwards , its so very sad .

  • Valinda Beair says:

    I quit going to Circus’ many years ago. It is not right to make these animals do things that God did not intend for them to do. How many times to you see an elephant standing on a ball in the wild?? These abuses have to stop. There is no excuse for Sara to be treated the way she has been treated. These trainers and handlers need to be arrested for animal abuse. NONE of the animals deserved to be treated the way they are. UNACCEPTABLE!!!

  • Bev says:

    A wild animal is meant to be just that … in the wild!!! Stop this horrible abuse by the circuses. Don’t allow animals to be used and abused and exploited any longer, please!

  • Cheryl H. Hardy says:

    With all that we know about the abuse and low quality of life……how is it still legal to have elephants and other wild animals in circuses? Can someone please explain this to me?

  • Robyn Flamand says:

    When are people going to stop using animals for their “entertainment” and realize it’s abuse????

  • Marika says:

    How is it possible that this Ringling Bros. can not be stopped??? It just keeps going on despite all animal abuse…

  • Shannon says:

    This is utterly disgusting, it brings such heartbreak! I wish I could do something about this, free this poor elephant and get her straight to safety. This is such a crying shame, it should be stopped right now!

  • Kiki says:

    Boycott the circus!! We haven’t been in over 30 years, just for this reason!

  • Fiona says:

    Ringling make me sick ! Such cruelty is unacceptable. Why would anyone put an animal through such agony and all in the name of entertainment. Making money from animals suffering is a disgrace.