PETA to Let Kids Handle Sharp Weapon Used on Elephants

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

For Immediate Release:
July 9, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382

Los Angeles – 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 run from the sound of honey bees” as well as react “to the bite of a horsefly just as a human would,” according to Dr. Mel Richardson, a veterinarian with more than 40 years of experience working with captive elephants.

When:   Wednesday, July 10, 12 noon

Where:  STAPLES Center, S. Figueroa and W. 12th streets, Los Angeles

At 12 noon on Wednesday, as the circus sets up inside the STAPLES Center, 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 of Captive Animal Law Enforcement 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.

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