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Evidence Provided by PETA of Physical and Psychological Threats to Two Elephants Leads to Government Action
For Immediate Release:October 2, 2012
Contact:David Perle 202-483-7382
Mobile, Ala. — After PETA
filed two complaints with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding
the physical safety and psychological well-being of two elephants with Cole
Bros. Circus, the circus has agreed to pay a $15,000 penalty to the USDA to
settle formal charges against the circus, which is scheduled to perform in
Mobile from October 10 to 14. The charges came after PETA pointed out that two
elephants, Tina and Jewel, were hundreds of pounds underweight and had been
deprived of adequate veterinary care, including for a protruding spine. They
were also sent to an unlicensed exhibitor with a long history of violating the
Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The more than 10 charges that Cole Bros. settled with
the USDA include failure to provide the elephants with adequate veterinary
care and failure to hire personnel capable of caring for them.
In 2009, the USDA felt that
the case was so serious that the agency confiscated Jewel and also removed
Tina. However, Cole Bros. continues to use other elephants in old-fashioned
circus acts, and PETA sent the USDA alarming video footage taken at Cole Bros. Circus in Lanesboro, Mass., on
June 17, 2011, that shows a handler who repeatedly struck an elephant using a
bullhook (a rod with a solid, steel-pointed end that resembles a fireplace
poker), including forcefully hitting the animal twice in the face. Also in June
of last year, the USDA cited an elephant exhibitor with Cole Bros. for multiple
violations of the AWA, including the use of "excessive force while tugging
at" an elephant by digging a bullhook into her flesh. Elephant trainer Tim
Frisco, who was caught on camera viciously beating terrified elephants and shocking them with electric
prods, just joined Cole Bros.
"The USDA's action
against Cole Bros. should put all animal circuses on notice that, sooner or
later, they must pay for animal abuse," says PETA Foundation Director of
Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. "Since
children love animals, the last place that parents and grandparents
should take them to is the circus."
information, please visit PETA.org.
A list of the violations
named in the charges follows.
The violations of the Animal Welfare Act for which Cole
Bros. Circus was ordered to pay a $15,000 penalty include the following:
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.