PETA Offers $5,000 Reward to Help Nab Elephant Shooter

Group Calls On U.S. Department of Agriculture to Investigate Circus Employees  and to See That Injured Elephant Receives Proper Treatment

For Immediate Release:
April 9, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382

Tupelo, Miss. — The story is that someone drove by the BancorpSouth Arena early on Tuesday morning and shot an elephant used by the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, who was being held outside the arena. Police are investigating the incident but have yet to make any arrests in connection with the attack. That’s why PETA is adding up to $5,000 to former First Congressional District Rep. Travis Childers’ $250 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this violent crime. Because shooting an Asian elephant also violates the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has discretion to issue an additional reward for information that leads to an arrest, conviction, or penalty for an ESA violation. PETA is also asking authorities to question circus employees, as incidents in which elephants are harmed—including by handlers, who beat them with sharp metal bullhooks—plague this circus.

Would you please consider sharing this information with your audience? It might be the only way to apprehend those responsible for this heinous act.

Ringling Bros. has a long history of failing to provide the elephants used in its shows with adequate veterinary care and of forcing ailing elephants to perform. In late 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued the circus the largest fine for an animal exhibitor in U.S. history, and Ringling employees have also been caught on film beating elephants at various venues, according to sworn eyewitness complaints. Ringling commonly travels without a veterinarian to tend to the large number of animals who are forced to travel with the circus, and its veterinarians have a history of allowing ailing elephants to perform painful tricks, so PETA is also calling on the USDA to inspect the injured elephant and ensure that she is receiving adequate treatment.

“It is in everyone’s best interests, including the elephant’s, to find the shooter,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “PETA is eager to help discover who committed this crime—and to ensure that Ringling is not continuing its pattern of forcing ailing and injured elephants to perform in its shows.”

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-773-8477.

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