Meet Karen: 45 Years of Suffering in the Circus (Video)

Published by Jennifer O'Connor.

Karen was still a nursing baby when she was torn away from her mother and family in Thailand 45 years ago, shipped around the world, and sold to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Since then, she has known nothing but misery.

Karen tested positive for tuberculosis antibodies in 2010 and was barred from entering Tennessee as a result. Since at least 1997, this ailing elephant has suffered from lameness so severe that she has been dosed with Banamine and Adequan, (anti-inflammatory medications used to treat arthritis and degenerative joint disease), yet she is still forced to travel with Ringling’s Blue Unit. She is chained for hours on end and hauled around in a reeking, stifling railroad boxcar from one venue to the next. She bobs and sways almost nonstop.

Karen has reportedly been viciously beaten with a bullhook, and her tail has even been fractured—little wonder, then, that this tormented elephant has been aggressive toward people. And she’s paid the price for her rebellion. Karen has scar tissue on her jaw, where a Ringling handler embedded a bullhook so deep that he had trouble removing it.

What You Can Do

Four decades of suffering is long enough. Ask government officials to seize Karen and take her off the road immediately.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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