Time Capsule Will Shock Future Bostonians As They Unearth Circus Cruelty Accessories

PETA Offers a Miniature Version of a Bullhook Used on Elephants, Shackles, and News Reports and Photographs of Abuses of Baby Elephants, Lion

For Immediate Release:
October 16, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Boston – The Bostonian Society is soliciting suggestions for the contents of the time capsule that it will place in the renovated Old State House lion statue—and PETA is stepping up. The group sent a letter today suggesting that the capsule include a miniature version of a bullhook—which resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp steel hook on one end and is used to force elephants to perform for the Ringling Bros. circus—as well as heavy shackles that keep elephants chained to the floor for most of their lives, photographs from its training compound, and news clippings about animals who have died at the circus’s hands. PETA notes that future Bostonians may find it disturbing that circus handlers once tied down and gouged baby elephants in order to “break” them and forced animals to endure long train rides under the sweltering desert sun—a journey that killed a lion named Clyde.

Ringling Bros. is performing in Boston through the end of this week, and Kenneth Feld, the CEO of Ringling’s parent company, is on the board at Boston University.

“When this time capsule is opened in 2114, people will be rightly disgusted to see how baby elephants were restrained, electro-shocked, and jabbed with a sharp metal rod in order to force them to perform stupid circus tricks,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “Every day, more people agree with PETA’s motto, which reads, in part, that ‘animals are not ours to use for entertainment,’ and the day is coming when circuses that use and abuse animals will be a relic of the past.”

For more information, please visit PETA.org.


PETA’s letter to The Bostonian Society follows.


October 16, 2014

Brian J. LeMay
President and Executive Director
The Bostonian Society

Dear Mr. LeMay,

In light of the news that The Bostonian Society is welcoming ideas on items to include in a new time capsule, PETA would like to offer a suggestion: Add  a miniature bullhook—a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp steel hook on one end (the heavy, full-size version of which is used to force elephants to perform for the Ringling Bros. circus)—and a pair of heavy shackles similar to the ones that keep elephants chained to the floor for most of their lives. We also recommend that you include photos of baby elephants at Ringling’s training compound and news clippings about the deaths of animals who have suffered under Ringling’s care, such as Clyde, a lion who died of heatstroke on a train while crossing the sweltering Mojave Desert. The miniature bullhook, shackles, photos, and articles would represent cruelty under the big top that people 100 years from now won’t believe was commonplace. Ever since a veteran Ringling employee shared images exposing how baby elephants are stretched out, slammed to the ground, and gouged with sharp bullhooks in order to teach them how to perform tricks out of fear of punishment, people have been turning their backs on circuses that use and abuse animals. More and more people are learning each day that Ringling puts profits above the welfare of the animals in its care.

The use of animals in entertainment has already been restricted or banned in cities across the U.S. and in countries worldwide, including Bolivia, Greece, Israel, Peru, and Sweden. By the time Bostonians open up this new time capsule, we’re confident that Ringling and other circuses that beat and abuse animals for entertainment will be history.

Please contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss the inclusion of these items. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Danielle Katz
Campaign Manager

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