In Defense of Animals (IDA) has been following the lives of Tina, Jewel and Queenie, three Asian elephants who are currently part of the Shrine Circus.
What IDA has found, three sick and miserable elephants, isn’t much of a surprise. However, what is surprising is that after years of documented violations of federal law reported to the USDA, nothing has been done.
Last week Tina, Jewel and Queenie were tracked to the Melha Shrine Circus in Springfield, MA, where the SPCA was called in to investigate the situation at which point they called for one elephant to be withheld from performing due to ill health. Test results for tuberculosis, which can spread to humans, were also inconclusive.
Will Davenport, the elephant’s handler, has also been cited by the USDA for multiple animal welfare violations in addition to being responsible for an accident where children were injured during an elephant ride. Where is the accountability here?
“A USDA inspection report dated April 4, 2009 documents that all three elephants have lost significant amounts of weight. For Tina and Jewel, this is the second time in two years that they have experienced severe weight loss under Davenport’s “care.” Jewel has lost over 700 pounds and is in “poor body condition and very underweight”. Tina and Queenie have lost over 500 pounds each. Tina and Jewel are below the traveling weights recommended by the veterinary expert on whose recommendation USDA returned the elephants to the road in September 2007,” according to IDA.
Elephants, and other animals, don’t belong in circuses where they’re forced to perform silly uncomfortable tricks for the amusement of circus goers. For more info on the lives of circus elephants and a list of animal free circuses, check out circuses.com.
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