PETA Statement: Elephant Calf’s Death Demonstrates Need to End Captive Breeding

For Immediate Release:
January 28, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

PETA Foundation’s Rachel Mathews released the following statement in response to this week’s death of 2-year-old Mike, an elephant bred at Ringling’s Florida training facility, which the circus calls the Center for Elephant Conservation (CEC):

This young elephant’s sad death is no surprise given that four other baby elephants have died under Ringling’s watch, including one 8-month-old whose hind legs were shattered during circus training and a 3-year-old who drowned in a pond while trying to get away from a trainer with a bullhook—a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp steel hook on one end. Ringling still uses these weapons at its Florida compound, where elephants are separated from their mothers shortly after birth and beaten into submission and elephants are chained on concrete for many hours each day. These stressful conditions have been linked to the highly fatal disease that killed this calf, which disproportionately impacts captive baby elephants, yet Ringling continues to breed more babies for a life in chains. These deaths are precisely why PETA is calling for an end to Ringling’s breeding program and for all of these elephants to be retired to a proper accredited sanctuary.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—has just published a report on the abuse, chaining, and rampant disease at the CEC, available here. More information is available at

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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