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Ringling Should Retire Sick Baby Elephant

Written by PETA | February 11, 2011
2e14/cc by 2.0

Barack, a 2-year-old elephant calf who was at one point traveling with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, is being treated (again) for elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus (EEHV). The scientific literature recognizes that stress is strongly associated with EEHV. Ringling has been subjecting baby Barack to the stress of transport, cruel “training,” and performances since he was less than a year old.

This is the second time that Barack has been treated for EEHV in his young life, and there is no cure for the disease, which is usually fatal in elephants. It has a staggering 80 percent mortality rate in captive Asian elephants.  

Unless Barack and his mother, Bonnie, are sent to a sanctuary, Barack may very well die from this disease. The circus can make itself truly “The Greatest Show on Earth” by retiring the rest of its elephants too.

Written by Michelle Sherrow

Commenting is closed.
  • Brandy Michelle Presgraves says:

    None of the elephants that is being kept on hard concrete, in dark barns with no natural sunlight, chained to the floor, riding in hot tiny box cars and forced to “perform” should be at Ringlings period! And for Ringlings to be so inhumane as to work an elephant that is sick.. it’s so sad. Yes, these elephants need to be placed in a sanctuary where they can live out their lives in peace, no tricks

  • PETA says:

    For everyone asking what you can do- please contact the USDA Eastern Region office ( and ask them to look into it. Thank you for your concern!

  • PETA says:

    Melmac- Animals used in traveling acts like circuses are carted from one town to the next and treated like equipment. Their eating and sleeping schedules are dictated by handlers, and they aren’t allowed to engage in any natural behaviors, such as socializing, roaming, and foraging. Many become listless, sick, and depressed. The benefits of being in an environment more suited to meeting her needs would undoubtedly increase Lucy’s quality of life as well as Barack’s. For more information, please go to

  • Carol Manji says:

    What can we do for Barack and his mother – how can we inform the President what his name sake has has to contend with?

  • Donna Borden says:

    I cannot believe this baby is still working. This baby must get proper care and STOP working the circus. Allow Barack and Mom to go to a sanctuary. Help them please. This baby needs help and his mom, keep them together and grant them some compassion.

  • Debra says:

    What can we do to send these poor animals to an animal sanctuary?

  • catherine says:

    thank you peta for putting the info. out for us!we need you!!!!!!elephants such as this deserve to be held as precious and need love and affection as any other animal god has given us to take care of.lets all step up our game and help free our animal friends from these horrible abusers such as ringling brothers barnum and bailey!!!!!!!!

  • KristyL says:

    This shouldn’t even be a topic of discusion! This elephant deserves just as much happiness as the people going for the “entertainment.”

  • Carolyn says:

    Retire him AND his mother, for crying out loud! This is totally inhumane and abusively cruel.

  • melanie says:

    ive always stated ,i will never take my kids to such animal shows, ever…….

  • Cornelia Mangold-Thiede says:

    Never use Baby-Elefants or other Baby-animals for your circus. It is a big pain and absolutely unnecessary, the best circus is a circus without animals. I only go to Circuses without animals, never I visit Circuses with animals.

  • Sarah sprague says:

    Ringling places discount ticket flyers in all the public schools near where they’re having shows. Some schools have field trips for the show. Contact your local schools school board members and superintendent to voice your concern .

  • Wendy Glick says:

    I wish the US Department of Agriculture would enforce the “Animal Welfare Act” and confiscate Barack and his mother, Bonnie, from Ringling. There are sanctuaries for elephants, such as the one in Hohenwald, Tennessee. Barack & Bonnie would enjoy life in a sanctuary, instead of being abused and miserable at Ringling. I hope Barack survives the terrible virus, and that Barack & Bonnie go to live in a sanctuary.

  • Kathe Walton says:

    The well being of the animals needs to come first!

  • patty langford says:

    Allow this baby to live! Provide him with a sanctuary where he can grow strong enough to live – we know the virus is incurable….

  • LiLi says:

    No child should be TRICKED into contributing to animal abuse under the mask of entertainment. This horrifying act must be stopped.

  • Hero says:

    This sickens me. When people stop viewing this as “entertaining”, the circus will no longer exist. My children were never brought to the circus or the zoo. Animals belong in the wild.

  • jasdeep says:

    i went to this protest on wed. and saturday in raleigh. it was great to see all the people who wanted ringling to end cruelty to animals.

  • ashley says:

    I am just disgusted with Ringling. If facebook could propel the Egyptian revolution, perhaps it could successfully gather supporters for the biggest boycott against Ringling. I’ll definitely sign up for it. I pray those elephants are retired from this sham of an animal “conservation” organization.

  • eva says:

    there is no need to use animals for entertainment, there are other ways to entertain children and adults and any circus that uses animals and cruel animal training should be banned completely.

  • Mel says:

    I agree with Gina- my family hasn’t gone to any circus in over 30 yrs and will not ever unless the cast consists of all humans!!! Shame on these people!

  • tab says:

    does Ringling circus care about ANYONE but them selves???

  • Melmac says:

    OK, you’re mentioning traveling being an issue for Barack’s condition. Then why are you still protesting that one elephant in Canada to be moved? Wouldn’t Lucy end up getting the same issue due to stress of being moved?

  • Gina says:

    “The happiness and entertainment of a child is NEVER worth the extreme suffering and torment of an animal.”