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?
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.