PETA has filed a formal complaint with the USDA against Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus for abusive practices against the eleven elephants used in their show. The animal rights organization gathered evidence of mistreatment last year and is now asking the USDA to seize the elephants and open an investigation using their authority under the Animal Welfare Act.
PETA is also urgently asking for help from the public. They have issued a petition and a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture, Thomas J. Vilsack, requesting that action be taken.
In 2009, PETA went undercover at Ringling Brothers and videotaped workers routinely beating and whipping the elephants. They documented circus employees that struck the elephants on the head, face, ears, trunk, legs and other parts of their bodies with bullhooks and other devices. The video showed that the mistreatment was carried out by workers and trainers at every level of the company.
Some of the elephants in the care of Ringling Brother Circus have suffered for more than 40 years, when they were captured in the wild. Others that were born at the company owned Center for Elephant Conservation have spent a lifetime in captivity and shackles. They don’t know any other way of existence and it’s time they learn that humans can be compassionate and gentle.
During the investigation, PETA recorded behavior from an elephant named Tonka that their experts classified as a sign of “severe psychological distress.” The video showed 25-year-old elephant repeatedly swaying her body from side to side while bobbing her head. And even with this bizarre behavior, she was still made to perform every night.
Tonka has been used by Ringling Brothers since 1989. Her entire life has been filled with bullhooks, whips, electric prods, confinement in cramped spaces and chains around her legs.
Ringling Brothers Circus has a long history of accusations of abuse against the animals in their show. In 2009 the ASPCA, Animal Protection Institute, Fund for Animals and circus employees brought a lawsuit against The Feld Entertainment Group, which owns Ringling Brothers. They cited mistreatment of the elephants under the Endangered Species Act. Sadly on December 31, 2009 a federal judge ruled in favor of the circus and its parent company.
Now with new video and facts in hand, it’s PETA’s turn to rescue the elephants from abuse. With your help and support PETA could be the organization to make Ringling Brothers change their ways forever.
Below is a Care2 Petition asking Secretary Vilsack to release the eleven elephants to a reputable animal sanctuary and begin a thorough investigation into the practices at Ringling Brothers Circus. Please join in the effort to help the elephants.
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