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PETA Calls On USDA to File ChargesFor Immediate Release:February 5, 2010
Contact:Debbie Leahy 757-622-7382
Polk City, Fla. -- After receiving a whistleblower's report--which has since been confirmed by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus--revealing that "Baby Barack," an elephant with the circus, has herpes, PETA has fired off a letter asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate and, if appropriate, file charges. Experts believe that stress increases the risk of contracting the treacherous endotheliotropic herpesvirus, or EEHV, which has killed 20 percent of captive-born Asian elephant calves since 2000 and accounts for more than half of all juvenile elephant deaths in North American facilities. Ringling put Barack on the road when he was less than a year old. The virus kills 85 percent of elephants who contract it.
"Ringling's decision to send this elephant out to perform at such a young age was reckless and showed no regard for the seriousness of this virus--which can cause massive internal bleeding and an agonizing death--or for the vulnerability of baby elephants," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "As has been proved time and time again, Ringling's treatment of baby elephants is abysmal. We urge the USDA to investigate and charge Ringling over its apparent culpability in Barack's illness."
Dozens of never-before-seen photos that were taken inside Ringling's Florida training center by a veteran elephant handler and were revealed by PETA two months ago expose how still-nursing baby elephants are captured rodeo-style and dragged away from their mothers. The babies scream and struggle frantically as they are wrestled, stretched out, slammed to the ground, gouged with steel-tipped bullhooks, and shocked with electric prods. These abusive sessions go on for several hours a day for up to a year. These fear-based and abusive training methods have contributed to the deaths of two baby elephants: One fled his bullhook-wielding trainer and drowned in a pond, and the other broke both hind legs after falling from a training pedestal. Other baby elephants have also died at Ringling.
For more information, please visit RinglingBeatsAnimals.com.
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.