Walking, Talking, Life-Size Mechanical Elephant Will Lead Circus Protest

PETA Wants Long-Suffering Elephants Released to Sanctuary, Not Kept in Chains at Ringling's Breeding Center

For Immediate Release:
February 9, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

“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.’ Wednesday night opening performance in Atlanta.

Where:           Philips Arena, Centennial Olympic Park Drive N.W. and Philips Drive, Atlanta

When:             Wednesday, February 10, 5 p.m.

Ringling plans to end its elephant acts by May, 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 were placed under quarantine for the disease just months ago.

“Kind people don’t want to see elephants denied everything that’s natural and important to them or kept in chains inside a dark shed 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.

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