Cloris Leachman, PETA Work to Save Arthritic Elephants From the Circus

“I want to talk to you about old people and elephants,” Cloris Leachman says. “As it turns out, we have a lot more in common with them than wrinkles.” She makes the declaration in a new video for PETA, which reveals how elephants used in the circus often suffer from a variety of ailments—including arthritis—and are forced to perform despite their ill health.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show star explains that elephants are still being kept in heavy chains, forced to stand for days on hard surfaces, and prodded and beaten into performing painful tricks that are meaningless to them. Such treatment can cause foot problems and arthritis, which can be deadly for elephants.

The video features footage of elephants used by Carson & Barnes, UniverSoul, and Shrine circuses being forced to perform difficult tricks and carry riders on their backs.

Leachman concludes, “Elephants in the circus suffer in silence, but we can speak up. Please join me in urging your family and friends to skip any circus that uses elephants.”

She’s part of an ever-growing list of stars—including Alec Baldwin, Edie Falco, Chilli, Demi Moore, Olivia Munn, P!nk, Iggy Pop, and Wilmer Valderrama—who have joined with PETA in condemning circuses that use animals.

Let’s Give Animals the Retirement They Deserve

In 2017, Ringling Bros. finally called it quits after 146 years, and this year, the Kelly Miller Circus—under new ownership—ended all animal acts. California and Rhode Island have banned bullhooks, Illinois and New York have prohibited traveling elephant exhibits, and numerous cities—including New York City and San Francisco—have banned the use of some or all wild animals in circuses.

Society no longer accepts the beating, shocking, prodding, neglecting, or chaining up of animals for fleeting moments of entertainment—but we still have work to do. Use our rapid action form to ask circuses and venues to make wild-animal acts a thing of the past:

Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

 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