Herd of ‘Elephants’ Gives Ringling a Not-so-Warm Welcome

Published by Alisa Mullins.

When Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus arrived in Washington, D.C., yesterday, it was met by herd of “baby elephants” eager to let parents know that when they take their youngsters to the circus, they pay for elephant youngsters to be beaten and chained.

DC Ringling Bros. Demonstration with Inflatable Elephant

PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk led the herd of inflatable pachyderms and a crowd of humans in a protest that snaked around the block.

DC Ringling Bros. Demonstration with Ingrid Newkirk

They told prospective circus attendees that Ringling has a long history of chaining and beating elephants (including babies), racking up dozens of violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) over the years. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture fined Ringling $270,000—the largest fine ever levied against any circus—for numerous AWA violations, including the deaths of a lion and a baby elephant.

Not surprisingly, after learning that the whips and bullhooks held by circus trainers aren’t just for show, several appalled parents quickly ushered their kids in the opposite direction.

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“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind