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USDA Investigates Ringling Cruelty

Written by PETA | October 11, 2012

Update: PETA has just received word that following its submission of evidence of this cruel beating to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency’s Investigative and Enforcement Services has opened a formal investigation into the matter.

Originally posted June 15:

A security guard has reported that an animal attendant with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus repeatedly beat a chained elephant with a bullhook at the World Arena in Colorado Springs shortly after midnight on June 10. A sworn cruelty complaint has now been filed with the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.

‘Elephants Never Forget’ Cruelty

The whistleblower, while working as a guard at the arena, saw a Ringling employee strike an elephant on her leg “with full force” at least six times in a manner that the whistleblower describes as “violent,” “excessive,” “angry,” and “without warning.” The attendant continued striking the elephant, who was chained by two legs, even after she had moved out of his way.

The guard also noted that the large cats traveling with Ringling were always confined to their cages unless they were performing, that he did not see any of the animals provided with regular access to water, and that he was told that the circus does not travel with a veterinarian.

‘Animal Care’ Requires Actual Care

Last year, Ringling paid a $270,000 fine to settle charges brought by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but the complaints keep coming in.

The man who came forward is a trained veterinary assistant who had been in the process of filling out a job application to work in an animal-care capacity for Ringling. After witnessing Ringling’s mistreatment of the animals, he immediately closed his Ringling employment application and contacted PETA.

What You Can Do

Please take a moment to e-mail the Humane Society of the Pike’s Peak region and urge them to take swift enforcement action against this blatant cruelty.

Commenting is closed.
  • Ann marie says:

    This is why I don’t go to the circus or support shows like this

  • Kelly says:

    How is this okay? How can this be allowed? Why hasn’t the Circus been shut down?????? There is no excuse!

  • Rose Nam says:


  • Rose says:


  • Steve says:

    It’s quite simple. The trainers who perpetrate this torture and cruelty should be subjected to the same cruelty and torture or be killed or both!

  • AdrianaCatLover says:

    Why do they still even use animals? that is so outdated and cruel. Cirque du soleil doesent use animals, and they are incredible. If i had a sledgehammer………….

  • WenchOnABench says:

    Couldn’t watch it all. Who on earth patronises circuses with animals these days? Too distressing for words, those gorgeous creatures looked so so sad. If I had a bullhook….

  • Jutta Garcia says:

    I just got off the phone with the Pikes Peak Humane Society. They are claiming not knowing anything about a complaint and told me they are only responsible for domestic animals. I was told to call the Department of Agriculture, nothing the Human Society can do about it. I am so disgusted by the action of these horrible people; when do people realize that a circus is not fun for the performing animals and how they are suffering under these conditions. Please, something needs to happen, we need to get rid of circuses who have animals entertaining the idiotic masses who just don’t get it. I’d like to know the name of the bastard who is punishing animals because he is such a loser. Please help.

  • Jutta Garcia says:

    I just now read about this horrible act and contacted the “Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.” They told me there is nothing they can do, they only get involved in domesticated animal abuse. I was told to contact the Department of Agriculture. Please, please, someone needs to step up. These liars from the circus are trying to make themselves sound like angels and how much they care for their animals. All Bogus. I wish I had a stungun and I would do the same to the bastard who is hurting these innocent anmimals. When is this insanity going to end?

  • Dee Ahlquist says:


  • aninimals are here for us to love says:

    I wish those elephants could beat the cruelty “trainers” with bullhooks!!!!

  • Meaghan says:

    The wild isn’t so wild, with rampant poaching decimiating herds across AFrica and Asia. 5,000 have been killed in Congo.

  • S. Noble says:

    I think its disgusting in this day and age, that animals like that are still caged up. To be honest its bad enough keeping them in a zoo, they should be in the wild.

  • Mary Molnar says:

    Why don’t you just put an end to ALL CIRCUS’S? Those animals need to be in a zoo to live out the rest of their lives happy & content instead of doing tricks for our entertainment & being abused

  • sandy ortega says:

    This is just disgusting ! what about the horse slaughter & BLM round-up with pregnant mare’s what the hell happened to our country !! Evil will go to Hell !

  • Nancy Thomas says:

    All states or the USA federal gov’t needs to ban animal acts as amusement altogether.

  • Cathy says:

    We have come a long way and we now realize that a circus does not need poor animals to entertain us. I love this guard and we need more people like him. I would never attend a circus that uses animals as entertainment.

  • sting out says:

    someone should hit those “trainers” with the bull hook!

  • Susan Nugent says:

    You would think with the fines they recently had to pay etc that they would at least stop beating the animals and provide a better environment or living conditions for them. You got to think..What kind of human being would do this kind of job? Beating animals and watching them suffer? Obviously these “trainers” are devoid of heart and soul. Bottom line people have to stop going to these circuses that feature exotic animals and circuses like Barnum will go out of business. Barbaric and so sad.

  • Meaghan Lowe says:

    Please end the cruelty to all animals in captivity at Barnum and Bailey Circus and Ringling Bros. These animals should not be chained and beaten or kept in cages. Please consider retiring these poor animals to a sanctuary where they can live out the remainder of their lives in peace.