PETA Condemns Decision to Acquit Elephant Handlers of Cruelty Charges

For Immediate Release:
June 9, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders released the following statement regarding today’s acquittal of elephant handler Larry Carden who had allegedly been witnessed sticking the end of a bullhook into an elephant’s mouth at the UniverSoul Circus in Atlanta in February:

The law is clear. Shoving a sharp instrument into the mouth of an elephant constitutes cruelty to animals. Today, the law failed elephants, who already have so little protection. Elephants used in circuses are denied everything that is natural and important to them. In the wild, they form lifelong friendships and walk up to 30 miles each day. In the circus, they are shackled in chains, carted all over the country, and forced to perform grueling tricks. They are routinely beaten, jabbed, and hooked with bullhooks—sharp metal weapons that resemble a fireplace poker. Today’s acquittal dealt another blow to these highly intelligent and sensitive animals.

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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