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Controversial Statue Spotlights Big-Top Elephant Abuse
For Immediate Release:January 4, 2009
Contact:Kate Brindle 757-622-7382 Washington -- Seven years after a First Amendment lawsuit made its debut possible, PETA's sad-elephant statue, Ella PhanzPeril, has returned to Washington, D.C. Designed by New Yorker cover artist Harry Bliss, the statue depicts a shackled baby elephant with tears trickling down her face and draped with a banner featuring the slogan "The Circus Is Coming; See Shackles, Bullhooks, Loneliness ... All Under the Big Top." The statue is located at 1390 19th St. N.W. and will remain there until January 10.
Ella's return to D.C. comes hot on the heels of PETA's release of shocking, never-before-seen photos taken by former Ringling elephant handler Sam Haddock, who documented that baby elephants were separated from their mothers by force and were bound with ropes on their legs, trunk, back, and neck as trainers gouged them with bullhooks and slammed them to the ground. Haddock, who died in November of a sudden illness, also described on camera and in a notarized statement how baby elephants scream and struggle during violent training sessions.
"We hope that people will take one look at the tears in this elephant's eyes and decide to stay away from Ringling and all other animal circuses that take baby elephants away from their loving mothers and put them in chains for life," says PETA Director Debbie Leahy. "Elephants in circuses are deprived of everything that is precious to them--including their freedom--and endure a lifetime of loneliness, beatings, and cheap tricks."
The statue's first visit in 2002 came after a lengthy battle between PETA and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which was sponsoring a citywide display of elephant and donkey statues at the time. The commission originally rejected PETA's design but was forced to relent after the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on the grounds that PETA's First Amendment rights were being violated. Since then, Ella PhantzPeril has been displayed in cities across the country.
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.