Herd of ‘Elephants’ to Converge Downtown on Ringling’s Opening Day

Group to Focus on Forced Performances of Lame Elephant

For Immediate Release:
March 20, 2014

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Washington – Draped with banners reading, “Shackled, Lonely, Beaten,” a herd of inflatable elephants will lead members of PETA in a demonstration against the arrival of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus on Thursday while the protesters display compelling photos taken inside Ringling’s baby-elephant training center. The photos show how baby elephants are slammed to the ground, gouged with steel-tipped bullhooks, and shocked with electric prods in order to force them to learn to obey out of fear of punishment.

When:   Thursday, March 20, noon

Where:  Outside the Verizon Center, 601 F St. N.W. (near the intersection with Seventh Street N.W.), Washington

The last time Ringling’s “red unit” was in Washington, a Department of Health official identified lameness in an elephant named Siam, and a board-certified veterinarian with more than three decades of experience recently observed hip issues in her. In October 2013, following a complaint from PETA to St. Louis officials urging them to prohibit Siam from being used because she had nail cracks on both rear feet, she was pulled from the show. Siam has a history of foot problems, the primary reason why elephants are euthanized in the U.S.

“Washington residents would run screaming from the big top if they knew how elephants are chained—sometimes for days—and beaten into performing difficult and sometimes painful tricks,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “Children love animals, so the last place parents and grandparents should take them is the circus.”

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