Former Ringling Bros. Employee Speaks Out Against Abuse

Archele Hundley, a former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus employee, recently teamed up with PETA to make a moving plea to potential circusgoers. Hundley, who witnessed elephant beatings during her time with Ringling, urges people to stay away from the circus.

“I saw handlers deliver a beating … for 30 minutes. She was covered with bloody wounds. I’ll never forget her agonizing screams,” says Hundley. “Please, never take your children to a Ringling Bros. circus.”

Hundley worked on Ringling’s animal crew for two months. During that time, she witnessed incidents of abuse, including the following:

  • In 2006 an elephant in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was beaten with bullhooks so severely that she bled profusely and cried out in pain.
  • A trainer viciously whipped a camel and punched a miniature horse in the face.
  • Trainers jabbed horses with pitchforks and gave them extremely painful “lip twists” to force the animals to obey commands.
  • An elephant with painful arthritis was kept on the road.

“The abuse was not just once in a while—it occurred every day,” says Hundley. “The elephants, horses, and camels were hit, punched, beaten, and whipped by everyone from the head of animal care down to inexperienced animal handlers hired out of homeless shelters.”

Archele says that she repeatedly complained to circus management about the abuse but to no avail, prompting her to quit in disgust. Archele teamed up with PETA because she wanted others to learn about the cruelty involved when animals are forced to perform in circuses. You can help spread the message by boycotting the circus and telling everyone know about circus cruelty.

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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