PETA Offers $5,000 Reward for Evidence of Elephant Abuse by Ringling Bros.

Group Believes Circus’s Routine Use of Spiked Bullhooks Violates State Law—Will Protest Columbus Opening Night

For Immediate Release:
May 7, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382

Columbus, Ohio – PETA is offering a $5,000 reward to any worker at the Value City Arena who documents a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus animal handler striking, gouging, or prodding an elephant with a bullhook—a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp metal hook on the end—while the circus is in town from May 8 to 12, if the documentation leads to a conviction. Ohio law states that “[n]o person shall … use … electric or other prods, or similar devices” on animals being used in a circus. The documentation must consist of video footage or photos. Anyone who obtains evidence of such cruelty can contact PETA confidentially at 757-373-0968 or [email protected].

There will also be a protest opening night.

When:   Wednesday, May 8, 6 p.m.

Where:  Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center, 555 Borror Dr. (near the intersection with Fred Taylor Drive), Columbus

“Ringling’s backstage abuse of elephants is so pervasive that we believe at least one arena worker will witness it, and we hope that person will come forward,” says PETA Associate Director of Campaigns Lindsay Rajt. “We’re giving arena staff both the opportunity and the incentive to help put an end to such cruelty.”

Ringling handlers routinely strike elephants with bullhooks and embed the hooks in their mouths, ears, and anuses. Alec Baldwin’s video exposé reveals Ringling personnel beating elephants with bullhooks. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is currently investigating the circus after a security worker at another arena reported witnessing a Ringling employee strike an elephant forcefully with a bullhook at least six times while she was in chains.

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