Lame Elephants Still on the Road

Published by Michelle Kretzer.

The record penalty paid by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for violations of federal animal welfare laws has so far made no difference for the lame and suffering elephants the circus forces to travel and perform for months at a time. So PETA has sent an urgent appeal to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) asking that the agency order a comprehensive, independent evaluation of the elephants and prohibit Ringling from taking elephants in distress on the road.

Accompanied by PETA’s captive wildlife specialist, two veterinarians with decades of elephant experience attended multiple Ringing shows and expressed serious concerns about the health and well-being of eight elephants. One elephant was observed with an abscessed toenail (foot problems are the number one reason why elephants in the U.S. are euthanized), and another had diarrhea.

While Siam, a 33-year-old, wild-caught Asian elephant, was lying down, a black hole consistent with an abscess was visible on her front left foot.

All eight displayed severely abnormal behaviors and have extensive scarring from being struck with bullhooks. Fifty-four-year-old elephants Aussan and Sarah have shown a dramatic decline in their physical condition during the past few months alone.

The experts also saw a zebra escape from an enclosure during a show and a tiger whose tail was caught in a cage door.

These elephants cannot wait while the USDA pats itself on the back for penalizing Ringling. Please click here to urge the USDA to take immediate enforcement action to get Aussan, Sarah, and all the other elephants suffering for Ringling off the road for good.

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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