Ringling Bros. Tops PETA’s List of the Eight Worst Circuses in the U.S.

Beatings, Chaining, and Denying Suffering Elephants Veterinary Care Are the Norm at Cruel Circus

For Immediate Release:
May 11, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

Palmetto, Fla.

What’s the cruelest show on Earth? PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—has the answer in the form of its first-ever list of the Top Eight Worst Circuses in the U.S. Palmetto-based Ringling Bros.—which is notorious for beating elephants with bullhooks (weapons that resemble fireplace pokers with a sharp metal hook on one end) and which is finally bowing to public pressure to end the use of elephants in its shows by 2018 but has no plans to stop using tigers, lions, zebras, or other animals—ranks number one on the list.

“For decades, Ringling Bros. has been synonymous with beating animals and locking them in cramped cages and boxcars,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA’s message to families is that if you care about animals or your children’s safety, you should never buy a ticket to Ringling Bros. or any other circuses that use animals.”

Photographs taken by a veteran elephant handler with Ringling reveal that baby elephants are prematurely torn away from their mothers, stretched out, slammed to the ground, gouged with bullhooks, and shocked with electric prods—all just to teach them the physically grueling and confusing tricks seen in a circus routine. In addition to a history of neglect—which includes allowing a lion to be baked alive in a boxcar and nearly allowing two tigers to join his fate—Ringling was recently caught denying veterinary care to three suffering elephants who were apparently locked in boxcars for as long as four days at a time while on the road. That’s why PETA is calling on Ringling to remove the elephants from its shows now, not after an additional three years of suffering on the road.

The circuses rounding out PETA’s list include: UniverSoul Circus, Carson & Barnes Circus, Cole Bros. Circus, Kelly Miller Circus, George Carden Circus International, Shrine circuses, and Jordan World Circus.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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