Federal Investigation Sought to Determine if Elephants Were Locked Inside Ringling’s Boxcars for More Than 30 Hours Straight

Records Reveal Elephants Allowed to Remain Chained for up to 100 Hours for Circus's Convenience, a Practice Not Allowed by Law

For Immediate Release:
August 7, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

San Diego – PETA has received a complaint that in preparation for Ringling Bros.’ San Diego run, the company confined elephants traveling with the circus to boxcars, in which they’re routinely kept chained, from the time they were loaded in Anaheim to when they were unloaded in San Diego—at least 32 ½ hours straight. PETA is this morning calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate this prolonged confinement and take appropriate enforcement action. If true, this would mean that the elephants couldn’t all lie down at once, couldn’t turn around, and wouldn’t have had fresh air or windows.

The federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA)—which Ringling has a long history of violating—mandates that animals be removed from transport conveyances “as expeditiously as possible,” not simply when convenient. According to Ringling’s own transportation records, it keeps elephants chained in boxcars for 26 consecutive hours on average per trip and sometimes up to 100 hours—more than four days straight. PETA believes that this is a violation of the AWA that the circus gets away with because federal inspectors aren’t traveling with the circus or routinely inspecting the boxcars.

“Keeping elephants chained in a boxcar for long periods of time is extremely distressing to these animals, who, in the wild, roam up to 30 miles every day and whose feet develop infections that can be fatal from standing amid their own waste,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA’s motto says, in part, that ‘animals are not ours to use for entertainment,’ and that means that no one should be able to haul elephants around as if they are car parts.”

This is the fourth time in two weeks that PETA has filed complaints against Ringling in response to reports from concerned citizens.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to the USDA can be seen here.

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