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Sarah Silverman Says Circuses Suck

Written by PETA | July 22, 2011

Sarah Silverman doesn’t think there’s anything funny about hurting animals. The comedian and provocateur has fired off a letter on behalf of PETA to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack asking that four ailing elephants traveling with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus be seized. These four girls are still on the road and being forced to perform despite the fact that PETA drew the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s attention to this arthritis and lameness more than nine months ago.


Performing circus tricks is a painful struggle for these animals … Yet Ringling’s elephant handlers—who have zero vet experience—continually stab the animals with sharp metal rods called bullhooks in order to keep them performing despite their ailments.

Sarah points out that veterinarians have documented incontrovertible evidence showing that Nicole, Karen, Juliette and Sara are being forced to perform grueling tricks despite suffering from lameness. Nicole and Karen also suffer from painful arthritis—the number one reason that captive elephants are euthanized.

Add your voice to Sarah’s by asking Secretary Vilsack to order these four hurting elephants off the road.

Written by Jennifer O’Connor

Commenting is closed.
  • teri lawrence says:

    It should be now outlawed that NO WILD ANIMAL ACTS IN ANY CIRCUS! In years its already been proven the stress they go through, the pain they endure, the prodding, and now you have these four that need to be free of any more of this kind of nonsense. They should not be captured slaves. Please do something about this. I would never ever go to any more especially Ringling Brothers Circus’s, and I would hope people follow the same. Disgusting these places.

  • Trudy says:

    I agree, do not care for (nor would ever attend)a circus. Not too crazy about zoos either and feel they should be strongly monitored for animal practices, care etc. Let’s free all the elephants, tigers, giraffes, monkeys and whatever other kind of animal species are in circuses.

  • Phyl says:

    Circuses are totally abusive to the innocent animal victims they brutalize into submission. The circus owners & animal trainers MUST be punished for the brutality. Circuses MUST stop all animal performances. The world must demand laws to STOP all animal abuses including animal performances!

  • Lisa says:

    Thank-you Sarah!!! I’m so very grateful that you are paying attention and care about this issue!!! I have seen the abuse of circus animals first hand and documented an incident on video. I submitted it to USDA and some animal rights groups and was told the abusive man was fired! I hope that is the case! It truly is atrocious how these animals are made to “live”, it is a traveling prison and hell for them!!!!!!!!! THANK-YOU!!!!!!! I hope you’re influence helps END ALL animal acts! We can only pray for that day and hoe it comes sooner, than later!!!!!!!!!

  • carolyn book says:

    The horrible animal cruelty in circuses needs to be eradicated and animals need to be removed from circus life completely. Animal-free circuses will save so much suffering.

  • Judy says:

    It’s difficult to beleive that in the 21st century and with all the information about the cruelty of Circuses, moronic people still attend. What more do they need to know ?

  • TERRI says:


  • Laura Paton says:

    I just finished a fictional book in which the heroine saves 11 elephants and 18 big cats from circuses and returns them to Kenya. My heart and soul go out to these exploited and abused animals.

  • Naiza Cordova says:

    Im agree that circus must be close and people are cruel with elefants must pay for it, its a crime and is unacceptable..!

  • Monika says:

    No comments!

  • Sunil & Catherine says:

    Dear Sirs, Many Greetings to all of you there! For the good of our christian brethren we approve circuses without animal,fire and knife acts. High trapeze and other acrobats should be performed to release our frustrations and calm us down.Safety nets should be provided to prevent acrobats from injuries. May Our Lord Jesus Christ Bless us all for our Christian Living towards all our Salvation.May all of you be Happy towards Salvation! Thanking all of you and With Respects Sunil & Catherine

  • katrina says:

    Circuses should be outlawed. It’s the 21st century, we should be more civilized than this!

  • Sean Gorsuch says:

    It is 2011! This type of circus show that continues to abuse animals for the entertainment of people has to stop. Surely we have evolved to the point where the exploitation of animals for our amusement is ancient history. C’MON!!

  • Lucinda says:

    Gli animali devono stare nel loro habitat naturale!

  • Joy McKerr says:

    I do not understand why humans think that everything put on the face of this earth was just for the entertainment of the species. As a child, I never went to a circus and as an adult I find them totally repugnant. I wonder how the circus staff would feel if they were caged up just for the purpose of entertaining the animals. Come to think of it – that sounds like a really good idea.

  • wilcat says:

    Lets stop all animals from circus

  • Lori Baugh says:

    Please end the torture of theses magestic creatures. What a sad and horrible life they have to live 🙁 I hope Ringling Bros goes belly up and they would if people would stop paying to see them abuse and torture animals.

  • wezo says:

    Let’s not forget that the best circuses do not have animals but rely solely on spectacular human performances, costumes, stages, etc.

  • Jackeline Llanos says:

    We have to do something to end the cruelty in circuses… My total support from Peru!

  • Sue says:

    All animals should be banned from circuses. The environment of a circus is no place for an animal and the travelling conditions between towns must cause the animals extreme distress.

  • Paulette Kaplan says:

    It is time for circuses to wake up and stop abusing elephants. It is not natural for elephants to dance for us. Just as it is not natural for us to run around wild in an elephant habit. It is cruel to take there babies and torture them and call it training for tricks. It is wrong to ignore the pain of the older elephants. Stop including elephants in the circus

  • Jeannine Ferris says:

    I believe that someday animal abuse will stop and all of the people guilty of doing the abusing to animals will suffer a punishment equal to what they did to the anumals.

  • adaline zalkin says:

    lets all of us stop going to circuses with animals until these idiots all go broke. i hate all kinds of circuses anyway. they are stupid & not enjoyable to me.

  • CARMEN says:

    i hate going to the circus since i saw a horrible man hitin’ a horse in the back of the circus, i remember screaming at the dude “stop,dont hurt him” and the guy screat at me and cursed me!! i was 4 years old! and i told my parent to never take me to the zoo ever again. this happened in Mexico city but i hate circuses in general because of this.

  • Jules says:

    I agree. The circus must stop featuring animals!! This is antiqated and inhumane. Wise up!

  • Richard says:

    Sarah i never knew you have a heart of gold. One would expect the USA to care for its animals but thats not the case. Why are humans so evil? i just can not figure it out

  • roberta perlis says:

    Thank you Sarah. This is disgusting!!!!!!!!

  • vincenzo says:

    Stop this cruelty,Shame!!!!!!!! Vincenzo Italia

  • Maggie says:

    Okay USDA, it is now to take a stand and do the right thing for these endangered species. It is inhumane to be treated the way these Endangered Species (elephants) are treated and are allowed to be treated. The AWA needs to be updated and in this modern day society there should no be any animals performing for the circus and husbandry should be banned at the zoos as it is documented babies have died or still birth, and all the ailing animals have health problems brought on by this industry the circus or zoo! Why is this still allowed? So much documentation and repeat episodes of the same thing are allowed to happen. St. francis pray for your creatures large and small, and give someone the knowledge to stand-up and let them not be blind no more.

  • emma says:

    To all animal lovers, let us all join force to petition against these inhumane acts of selfish, cruel, greedy for money people. I hope that whoever read all the comments posted in this section, may their hearts be touched and generate kindness, compassion to help stop the cruel acts of these people. Let us all boycott going to circuses!!!

  • Chris says:

    Thanks Sarah!

  • david meyer says:

    sarah and i are on the right track. these people are taking there baby elephants from there mother 2 weeks after birth and making them do tricks and beating them to eather preform tricks or they are beat and or shock by that cattle prone and at night the baby as well as the mother cry out for them. babies elephands must stay with there mom for at leasts 8 to 10 weeks not days, this has to stop now the beat and buther circus i hope one day there luck will run out and sarth and i can stop this, if not go outside and listem every day you will one day hear the cries of baby elephants sacred and frighten holling for there mom this is crule and inhumane.lets stop this now {not later}

  • Florencia Cudicio says:

    no comment, it’s just unfair!!!

  • Chanda Muong says:

    All while animal belong at their natural habitat.

  • Corinne Lewis says:

    It sickens me that people still attend the circus. Shame on them. One day soon they will all be shut down. Thank you Sarah Silverman.

  • Annie says:

    Why are some people missing the “compassion: gene? Animals were placed on earth to enhance our lives not to be used so cruelly. Elephants are majestic, beautiful creatures and should be able to live out their lives in comfort and peace. Let’s try to ban the use of circus animals- it can be done if we band together!

  • steve calder says:

    people are not slaves.animals are not slaves

  • francs diano says:

    I stopped going to the circus years ago due to the way all the animals are treated i have been involved with the animal industry for over 35 years and am proud to say my guys are treated better than kids because they are just that to me and NEVER would be harmed as long as I am alive.

  • jeanne says:

    Its all very sad this .

  • Barbara Maria Schriver says:

    My family & I are totally against CIRCUS ANIMAL PERFORMANCES & my daughter & husband take their 3 kids to Circ de solei, where performing ‘people’ dress like animals & fish, etc. That is beautiful! People should take kids to safari & free range parks to see live animals in their natural habitats & support their efforts to save more of God’s creatures.

  • Isolde M.L. says:

    Animals are not human being’s toys. Please stop torturing and making suffer these poor animals and make fun of them. Animals must live where they belong, in their own habitats, not in ours.

  • Rashomi Silva says:

    Its sad its harsh and its a shame. This beautiful and majestic animal is used like some marionette in a circus. Elephants used pageant are no better off. It always breaks my heart to see elephants forced to walk along in noisy pageants.Their front legs are tied up together as a precautionary measure in an event they get aggressive, they can not run wild among the spectators, and also to force them to take that measured small step to add beauty to the pageant. They too are handled and controlled with sharp metal bull-hooks and the keeper knows next to nothing about veterinary medicine or illness of elephants, This cruelty should end, we are supposed to be civilized world and yet we treat animal in such an uncivilized way. yes it sucks !!!

  • Shecky Beagleman says:

    Have always been a Sarah Silverman fan and thanks to her for saying this.

  • Patricia Madi says:

    All circus animals undergo torture in some kind. Ciruses can very well live on the artistic performances of human beings alone – see Cirque de soleil i.e. which is one of the most successful establishments. Not only the training to perform unnatural tricks is against natures meaning, the confinement to smallest cages during continues travels, the exposure to masses of people etc. etc. is definitely not humane . From whatever axes one looks at circuses, there is no way an animal should be in it ….

  • Vancouverrite says:

    What the hell gives us the right to be cruel to our fellow animals!? Good on you Sarah!!!

  • kraig schweiss says:

    When will animal abuse and cruelty stop? You want the animals to rise up and turn on the ones who are inflicting so much pain and suffering, just to get away and find the peace and freedom they deserve.

  • Dan Heermann says:

    Right on Sarah! The circus is a left-over from a period in time when people saw the world through different eyes, and never really understood the suffering involved with animals used for entertainment!

  • Cher says:

    I think one of the best things we can do to stop this violence is to also tell others about what’s happening to these beautiful gentle giants AND absolutely DO NOT go to the circus when it comes to town. I would imagine other animals in the circus are being abused also…let’s care about them ALL! PUT THE CIRCUS OUT OF BUSINESS!!!!

  • Dave Weinstock says:

    Sarah, I don’t think there’s anything funny about the threatment of thses animals as well. It takes a celebrity as yourself to get people to listen. Good work Sarah. Dave.

  • Terry says:

    Well I think it’s awsome that a celeberty is speaking up against animal abuse! kuddos to her, now if everybody would stand up and speak out against animal abuse maybe we could help all the poor animal’s from there idiot owner’s, god know’s there is no hope for them,circuses, rodeo’s, water zoo’s, peting zoo’s ect… we need to stop all animal abuse, this is the 20th century we dont need to relie on animal’s to do our work or intertain us, they should all be set free! to raom the planet as god intended, and if your going to have a pet it should have the option to come and go as it pleases. Anyway like I said in my earlier post, good luck with the department of agriculture. And thank you for speaking out, have a great day and remember to donate to Peta, Shark and all other non profit organization’s that help to stop animal abuse, p.s. dont forget to go to and play the trivia game and feed a hungry cat or dog! cccyyyyaaa!