Massive PETA Latino Campaign Calls On Mexicans to Stay Away From Cruel Circus

As Ringling Heads to Mexico, Kate del Castillo Exposes Abuse of Elephants

For Immediate Release:
May 27, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

México, D.F. – Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus starts its stint in Mexico City at the end of the month, and PETA Latino is amping up efforts to alert families to the circus’s history of animal abuse. The group is sending videos, infographics, and more—including a video narrated by actor Kate del Castillo, who has sent a letter calling on Mexican arenas not to host the circus again—to its supporters and social-media followers in Mexico. The materials reveal how Ringling trainers have been caught on camera repeatedly beating elephants with bullhooks—weapons that resemble fireplace pokers—to remind them “who’s boss” and force them to perform tricks.

PETA supporters will protest the circus outside its performances in Mexico City and Monterrey this month and next. 

“Ringling Bros. beats elephants so viciously with bullhooks that handlers use a gray powder called Wonder Dust to conceal the wounds from the public,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA Latino is advising parents and grandparents that if their children love animals, the last place they should take them to is the circus.”

Circus features on PETA Latino’s bilingual website,, include “Draw My Life”—a video that uses hand-drawn art to tell the story of Karen, a middle-age elephant used by Ringling—as well as “10 Reasons Not to Attend the Circus” and “How Ringling Breaks Baby Elephants’ Spirits,” which shares shocking photos of how baby elephants, who have been prematurely torn away from their mothers, are stretched out, slammed to the ground, gouged with bullhooks, and shocked with electric prods—all to teach them the physically grueling tricks seen in a circus routine.

Ringling paid the largest fine in circus history—$270,000—for violating the U.S. Animal Welfare Act, and arena employees have reported seeing Ringling workers violently beat elephants in recent years. PETA has urged the U.S. government not to allow Ringling to export tigers to Mexico to use in its shows, citing prior beatings and routine denial of space and exercise to big cats.

More details about Ringling’s history of breaking the law are available here. For more information, please visit

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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