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Rosie the Elephant Needs Rescuing

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Photo of bullhook used with permission from IDA

Life of a Circus Elephant

Elephants in circuses are not known to be treated with kindness.  Undercover investigations at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus show video of abject abuse with the “training” tool known as a bullhook.  Shaped like a fireplace poker with a sharp pointed end, bullhooks are seen being swung like a baseball bat and stabbed into soft spots on elephants — like behind and in ears or inside mouths or on the anus, the super sensitive parts of their epidermis — as a control mechanism.

The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Animal Welfare Institute, the Fund for Animals, and the Animal Protection Institute filed a federal lawsuit against Ringling Bros., but it was dismissed by a federal judge in December 2009 for jurisdictional reasons.  It never got the chance to be heard on the merits of the case: documented abuse.

Will a Bullhook Be Used on Rosie?

When queried as to the use of a bullhook, McAnaney told me, “Regarding bullhooks, Dr. Laurita will NOT be using one of these with Rosie . . . it is simply not necessary.”  He also said Rosie will not be trained in the traditional sense.  “His handling of her is going to be focused on delivery of the various physical therapy treatments and making sure she gets a suitable amount/type of exercise for her damaged limb,” McAnaney told me in an email.

Doyle is concerned that Dr. Laurita does not have enough current and up-to-date experience dealing with elephants. “I have to keep going back to the fact that Laurita’s experience with elephants in the past was in a circus and in zoos that used (and at least one zoo still does) free contact and bullhooks,” Doyle told me in an email. “There is no indication whatsoever that Laurita has ever learned another way of managing elephants.”

What You Can Do

Take your time and read as much as you can about Rosie, circus elephants, Hope Elephants in Maine, IDA and any other resource you can locate.  Knowledge is power.  Keep your mind open before deciding which approach is best for Rosie.

If you believe Rosie will thrive under the care of Dr. Laurita, volunteer at Hope Elephants.  If you feel Rosie belongs in a sanctuary rather than at Hope Elephants work with IDA to further that goal.  You can also sign the Care2 petition.

This is a tough one because both views have overlapping boundaries.  I believe both IDA and Dr. Laurita want what is best for Rosie.

What do you think?

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8:50AM PST on Nov 20, 2012

As someone that suffers from severe chronic pain that it horribly effected by weather and temperature I can not help but think that living in Maine is NOT in Rosie's best interest. It is very possible that this Dr. might be the best thing for Rosie as far as giving her the love that she so deserves after having such a difficult life beginning with being taken out of the wild and away from her mother at such a young age then raised in captivity, trained and preforming for SO many years. It is about time that someone actually cared for HER and gave her a life of love and happiness. Don't we all deserve that really?? I just know that for me personally, warmer climates are much easier on me and my severe pain and I just can't imagine it being any different for our Rosie.

8:07PM PDT on Oct 6, 2012

Rosie would be better off with warmer weather for her arthritis. The sanctuary in Tennessee or even California would give her a chance to be with other elephants and learn to depend on others like herself, not just people. Maine is a brutal place in winter; lovely but brutal, and not a place for an elephant. There should be no elephants in this area because of the cold.

1:46PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012


11:35AM PDT on Aug 12, 2012

I signed several times for Rosie but nothing happens till now it seems !


8:32AM PDT on Aug 6, 2012

Send Rosie where she will be loved and well taken care of. I will never attend a circus again.

3:29PM PST on Jan 28, 2012

I try very hard not to support events that exploit animals, if we all boycotted any circus where animals were part of the show, this often barbaric explotation of living creatures would stop. I visited an elephant sanctuary in India, yes the elephants are 'on-display' but the sanctuary has to raise funds some how and the animals are well looked after. All visitors were invited to buy and feed fruit to the elephants (and oh boy they all enjoyed the watermelon slices and bananas that we fed them, despite their huge size they are really gentle when they take food). Then we were asked if we'd like to give them a bath, this was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. There were several people washing the elephant, we were given coconut husks to scrub her with, it was clear, as she lay in the stream, that she was really enjoying all the attention. I washed her face, very gently scrubbing her around her trunk and gently washing over her eyes, her eye lashes were like broom bristles. She was making a very gentle noise that I can only liken to purring. What a wonderful creature but I would still have prefered for her to have been in the wild where she, and the rest of her kind, belong.

1:14PM PST on Jan 28, 2012

yes rossie need love as my beloved tarra. i had been sponsored tarra for 4 years, also belle the dog, but she died. rossie need too much love.

8:30PM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

Like all animals who are getting along in years, Rosie needs whatever is best for her, not what is best for others. She needs her dignity and to feel loved and wanted.

3:08PM PDT on Nov 4, 2011

Rosie is like Tarra. She needs loves, and to be well taken care of in a climate that is good for her.

8:23AM PDT on Nov 4, 2011

Rosie needs to be where she is loved , wanted, cared for and her pain to be eased as soon as possible. Why prolong her pain ,when the problem CAN be if not solved then eased.She needs to be protected, and have runs, and enclosed freedon befor she gets too old to have any enjoyment.

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