6-Year-Old Chained as ‘Baby Elephant’ to Confront Potential Circusgoers

Youngster Will Lead PETA Protesters in Spotlighting Ringling's Violent Treatment of Baby Elephants

For Immediate Release:
September 25, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Salt Lake City, Utah – A 6-year-old boy wearing an elephant costume and restrained by a chain will lead PETA protesters in Salt Lake City on Wednesday evening as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus prepares for its opening show. The protesters will display signs emblazoned with compelling photos taken inside Ringling’s training compound that expose how baby elephants used by Ringling are taken away from their mothers and chained for up to 23 hours a day. During training sessions, they are stretched out, slammed to the ground, gouged with steel-tipped bullhooks—weapons that resemble fireplace pokers with sharp steel hooks on one end—and shocked with electric prods. These abusive sessions go on for several hours a day in order to force the baby elephants to learn to perform circus tricks out of fear of punishment.

When:   Wednesday, September 24, 6 p.m.

Where:  Intersection of S. Temple and 300 West, Salt Lake City

“Salt Lake City residents would run screaming from the big top if they knew how baby elephants are violently forced to perform difficult, confusing, and sometimes painful tricks,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is telling parents and grandparents that since children love animals, the last place that families should go to is the circus.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—teamed up with actor Alec Baldwin for a video exposé that focuses on how circuses abuse elephants. In late 2011, Ringling Bros. paid the largest fine in circus history—$270,000—for violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

For more information, please visit PETA’s website RinglingBeatsAnimals.com.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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