“Ellie,” a stunningly realistic, life-size mechanical elephant who moves her head, legs, and trunk—and who has traveled across the country explaining to schoolchildren how circuses hurt animals—will lead PETA’s protest outside Ringling Bros.’ opening night performance on Thursday in Wilkes-Barre.
Where: Public Square, downtown Wilkes-Barre
When: Thursday, April 28, 4 p.m.
Ringling’s last performances using elephants will be on May 1, and PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—is calling for the animals to be properly retired to an accredited sanctuary. Ringling says that it plans to confine the elephants to its Florida breeding facility, where it keeps them in shackles on concrete, separates mothers from babies, trains them with bullhooks—weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp steel hook on one end—and breeds them. Records show that nearly every elephant used by Ringling has foot problems or musculoskeletal disorders, and multiple elephants with the circus have tested positive for tuberculosis, which is transmissible to humans. More than half of the elephants currently at Ringling’s breeding facility are under travel restrictions related to the disease.
“Kind people don’t want to see elephants denied everything that’s natural and important to them or kept in chains at Ringling’s breeding facility,” says PETA Foundation Captive Animal Law Enforcement Counsel Rachel Mathews. “PETA wants these elephants retired to a sanctuary where they’ll be free from all the stress and deprivation that make them sick and keep them in pain.”
For more information, please visit PETA’s website RinglingBeatsAnimals.com.