Cruel Circus Stunt Prompts PETA Appeal to Elementary School

After Santa Rides Lame Elephant, PETA Asks School Not to Partner Again With Notoriously Abusive Ringling Bros. Circus

For Immediate Release:
December 18, 2014

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Palmetto, Fla. – This morning, PETA’s humane education division, TeachKind, sent an urgent letter calling on Blackburn Elementary School not to partner again with Ringling Bros. circus. In the letter, TeachKind points out that Ringling Bros. continues to use the elephant Asia for stunts such as the one at Blackburn, where Santa rode Asia despite her history of lameness. As PETA has documented, Ringling also routinely beats elephants with bullhooks (weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp steel hook on one end, which are banned in jurisdictions across the country, including in Margate, Pompano Beach, and Miami Beach, Fla.) to force them to perform.

“Schools should teach kids to respect and empathize with others, not that it’s OK to use and abuse animals for ‘entertainment,'” says PETA Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “TeachKind wants teachers and parents to realize that there’s nothing festive or child-friendly about taking elephants away from their families, beating and chaining them, and depriving them of everything that’s natural and important to them.”

Compelling photos taken inside Ringling’s Florida compound expose how baby elephants used by Ringling are stretched out, slammed to the ground, gouged with steel-tipped bullhooks, 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.

TeachKind and PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—encourage all families to watch actor Edie Falco’s video exposé and see for themselves how circuses abuse elephants.

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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