Chained for 100 Hours

Published by Heather Faraid Drennan.

If the thought of sitting in a car for hours on end with whining kids, a hard-of-hearing grandma, and a cigar-puffing uncle this Thanksgiving weekend makes you feel queasy, imagine making the trip in a poorly ventilated boxcar with no heat. Upon arriving at your destination, instead of being greeted by welcoming family members, a hearty meal, and a warm bed, you’re prodded into a march to an arena basement, where you’re chained to a concrete floor until being poked and jabbed into the ring and forced to perform meaningless, repetitious, uncomfortable, and even painful tricks in front of a screaming crowd.

That is a snapshot of the lives of the elephants who are dragged from one circus show to the next—but a new bill before Congress could give elephants, tigers, and other exotic animals used by circuses a reprieve.

Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia has introduced H.R. 3359, the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, which would, among other measures, prohibit exhibitors from forcing animals to be transported for more than 12 hours without a break and ban forcing animals to perform if they had traveled within the past 15 days, effectively prohibiting circuses from trucking the animals around the country for months at a time.

Internal Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus documents show that elephants used by the circus are chained for up to 100 hours straight (and an average of 26 consecutive hours per trip) while traveling between cities. Not surprisingly, Ringling opposes the bill and has called it an “attack” on “tradition.”

Ringling is spending mega-dollars to oppose H.R. 3359, which is why it is so important that you take a moment to click here to contact your representative to ask him or her to support the bill or to thank your legislator if he or she is already a co-sponsor. Let your representative know that animal abuse is not a tradition worth supporting.

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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