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For Immediate Release:February 1, 2010
Contact:Megan Grigorian 757-622-7382Delaware County, PA -- Today, PETA fired off a letter to Judi Stanaitis, Neumann University's director of alumni relations and special programs, urging her to be consistent with the school's Franciscan tradition of kindness to animals and stop promoting Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. PETA recently obtained never-before-seen photos taken by a veteran elephant handler inside Ringling's training center. The photos show baby elephants being dragged from their mothers, gouged with bullhooks, and shocked with electric prods. This exposé revealed only the latest in a string of animal-related incidents at Ringling, including the deaths of two baby elephants during training or handling and the death of a third baby elephant who was taken into the ring three times despite being very sick. Neumann University is offering discounted tickets to a Philadelphia Ringling performance to its alumni.
"A Franciscan university promoting an entertainment event in which elephants are hit and harmed is like a hospital promoting artery-clogging bacon double cheeseburgers," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "What would St. Francis of Assisi--the patron saint of animals--say?"
To view PETA's 2009 video footage that shows trainers backstage at Ringling striking elephants with bullhooks and attacking tigers with whips, click here.
For more information, please visit PETA's Web site RinglingBeatsAnimals.com.
PETA's letter to Judi Stanaitis, Neumann University's director of alumni relations and special programs, follows.
February 1, 2010
Judi Stanaitis Director of Alumni Relations & Special Programs
Dear Ms. Stanaitis:
In light of Neumann University's current Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus promotion, we at PETA want to provide the Alumni Association with newly released photographs of circus employees as they abuse animals. After reviewing images of frightened baby elephants forcibly stretched out, slammed to the ground, and wrestled by several adult men holding sharp, steel tipped bullhooks, we expect that the university will choose to immediately end all association with Ringling. The pictures are attached, or you can view them here.
It's troubling that a university founded in the Franciscan tradition, which "emphasizes respect for individuals, concern for the environment, and social responsibility," would endorse a business that profits from animal abuse. As you can see, at Ringling's facility, still-nursing baby elephants are captured rodeo-style, roped around all four legs, tethered neck-to-neck to an anchor elephant, and dragged from their mothers so that they can learn circus tricks. They scream, cry, and struggle as they are gouged with bullhooks and shocked with electric prods. After undergoing a year of these daily violent training sessions, elephants continue to bear bullhook beatings and constant confinement as they travel from city to city--all for a few moments of cheap "entertainment."
As long as Neumann University continues to offer its alumni discounted show tickets, the school knowingly gives its stamp of approval to Ringling's documented history of cruelty to animals --a starkly different message from Neumann's founding principles of respect and concern for others. Please let us know of the Alumni Association's decision. Thank you.
Megan GrigorianCircus Specialist
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.