Tuberculosis-Positive Ringling Workers Prompt PETA Appeal to Authorities

For Immediate Release:
December 14, 2015

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Today, PETA sent letters asking county officials in Chicago and Indianapolis to bar Ringling Bros. from bringing elephants to town following recent positive tests for possible tuberculosis (TB) among its employees there—a move that would help protect workers, audiences, and animals, as TB is highly transmissible from elephants to humans, even without direct contact.

In its letters, which can be read in full here and here, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—points out that at least three of the elephants with the Ringling unit that traveled to Chicago and Indianapolis have histories of TB, including one who tested positive for TB while on tour in 2013. Even though there’s no reliable method to verify whether or not elephants have been “cured” of TB, this elephant was back on the road this year and toured with the circus while three workers were quarantined for the disease.

PETA also notes that action from local authorities is especially needed given that in October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it’ll no longer require testing or treatment of elephants for TB, leaving disease-control measures up to state and local health officials.

More information about Ringling’s history of TB is available here.

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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