Man Legally Named ‘’ to Protest Ringling Museum

Costumed 'Elephant' to Draw Attention to Circus's Cruelty to Animals

For Immediate Release:
August 20, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Sarasota, Fla. – A man who legally changed his name to out of concern about the mistreatment of animals in circuses will appear with an “elephant” outside The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art—which also features a circus museum—on Thursday to protest Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ well-documented cruelty to elephants and other animals. The protesters will display compelling photos taken inside Ringling’s Florida training compound that expose how baby elephants used by Ringling are taken from their mothers, stretched out, slammed to the ground, gouged with bullhooks—weapons that resemble fireplace pokers with sharp hooks on one end—and shocked with electric prods. These abusive sessions go on for weeks until the baby elephants’ spirits are broken and they submit and obey commands.

When:   Thursday, August 21, 3 p.m.

Where:  Outside The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota

“PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that ‘animals are not ours to use for entertainment’—would promote the museum if it exhibited the real artifacts of life for animals in the circus: bullhooks, chains, and unventilated boxcars,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “The museum could stand as a reminder that the days of hauling animals from city to city and beating them until they perform silly tricks are coming to an end.”

In late 2011, Ringling Bros. paid the largest fine in circus history—$270,000—for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Actor Alec Baldwin narrated a video exposé that focuses on how circuses abuse elephants.

For more information, please visit PETA’s website

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