PETA to Let Colorado Springs Kids Handle Sharp Weapon Used on Elephants

Provocative ‘Show and Tell’ as Spiked Bullhook Is Previewed at World Arena Ahead of PETA Circus Protests

For Immediate Release:
June 5, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382  

Colorado Springs – To give kids “a feel for the circus,” PETA will let them handle the sharp, steel-tipped weapon that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus uses to train and punish elephants for not promptly obeying commands to perform uncomfortable and confusing tricks. Elephants’ skin is so sensitive that they will react “to the bite of a horsefly just as a human would,” according to Dr. Mel Richardson, a veterinarian with decades of experience working with elephants.

When:   Thursday, June 6, 12 noon

Where:  The intersection of S. Tejon Street and E. Pikes Peak Avenue, Colorado Springs

At 12 noon on Thursday, as the circus sets up inside the World Arena, PETA will be outside offering a preview of the sensational centerpiece of its protests: a bullhook—a weapon resembling a fireplace poker that pierces and bruises elephants so badly that circus trainers conceal the wounds from the public with a gray powder called Wonder Dust. Handlers often jab the bullhook into the soft tissue behind or inside an elephant’s ears, inside the mouth, in and around the anus, and in other tender areas.

“Kids love elephants, and when they find out how the animals are cruelly trained to perform circus tricks, they’ll want to help,” says PETA Foundation Director Delcianna Winders.

Actor Alec Baldwin‘s video exposé shows Ringling personnel beating elephants with bullhooks. Ringling has paid the largest fine in circus history—$270,000—for Animal Welfare Act violations. Last year, a security guard at the World Arena reported in a sworn affidavit that he witnessed a Ringling worker beat a chained elephant with full force using a bullhook.

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