Lucy the Elephant to Get a ‘Trunk Lift,’ Courtesy of PETA?

PETA Wants to Help Historical Landmark and Advertise Against Circus Cruelty at the Same Time

For Immediate Release:
October 8, 2015

Catie Cryar 202-483-7382

After hearing that Margate City’s beloved historic landmark Lucy the Elephant is in need of major repairs, PETA is stepping up with an offer that it hopes the committee in charge of Lucy’s restoration will like. In return for pitching in for her “trunk lift,” PETA is asking that she be decorated with a message that lets visitors know about her fellow elephants’ lonely life under the big top, where photos and video footage show that they’re kept in shackles and often struck with bullhooks—weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp steel-tipped hook on one end.

“PETA’s offer is a win-win proposition: Not only would it help repair a unique piece of historical Americana, it’d also help call attention to the plight of elephants trapped in the circus,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Life in the circus is no life at all for these sensitive, highly intelligent animals, who are separated from their families and kept in chains when they’re not being forced to perform under threat of punishment.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—has gathered extensive video and photographic evidence showing that circus trainers and handlers jab and threaten elephants, including babies. Circuses keep elephants, tigers, and other animals on the road in chains, cages, and cramped boxcars for up to 50 weeks a year.

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PETA’s letter to Lucy the Elephant CEO and Executive Director Richard Helfant follows.

October 8, 2015

Richard Helfant
Executive Director and CEO
Lucy the Elephant

Dear Mr. Helfant,

I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including thousands across New Jersey, regarding your famed historical attraction, Lucy the Elephant. We’d like to make a contribution toward Lucy’s “trunk lift” in exchange for decorating her in a way that would educate visitors about the grim lives facing elephants in circuses.

As a beloved icon, Lucy would be an excellent “spokes-elephant” for her “friends” in the circus who face only pain and isolation. To make elephants perform meaningless tricks, circuses train them with the use of weapons called bullhooks, shock them with electric prods, and keep them under the constant fear of punishment. You can see pictures of this abuse here. Elephants in the circus may be denied vital veterinary care, and numerous elephants on the road today are suffering from lameness. Many of them show signs of psychological disorders stemming from their captivity. And unlike stationary Lucy, elephants in the circus are constantly shuttled around the country. They may be restrained in chains for days at a time and spend a huge part of their lives in barren boxcars, trailers, and arena basements, swaying back and forth to try to preserve their sanity and standing in their own waste.

Lucy could be decorated like Ella, the famous and much-photographed elephant statue standing outside PETA’s Washington, D.C., office. Extremely popular with tourists, Ella depicts a chained and weeping elephant with the inscription “See Shackles, Bullhooks, Loneliness—All Under the Big Top.”

Our offer is a win-win proposition. It would help repair a unique piece of historical Americana and call attention to one of today’s most pressing animal issues. We hope you like the idea. Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk

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