New Evidence That Ringling Beats Animals

If you read my previous post about the lawsuit that was filed against Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, you know that the circus has long been accused of abusing elephants and other animals. Today, July 22, PETA released more damning evidence alleging that elephants and tigers endure routine, systematic abuse of at the hands of Ringling workers.

An undercover investigator from PETA traveled with Ringling’s Red Unit and saw employees digging steel-tipped bullhooks into the sensitive skin behind elephants’ knees and under their trunks. According to PETA’ investigator, Ringling employees  routinely struck and whipped both elephants and tigers. 

At least eight employees—including an animal superintendent and a head elephant trainer—used bullhooks and other objects to strike elephants on the head, ears, and trunk.  You can watch the undercover video footage for yourself at

The investigator also saw animals exhibiting stereotypical, neurotic behaviors. One elephant, Tonka, showed signs of severe psychological stress but was nevertheless forced to perform night after night.

Following the investigation, PETA filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, alleging that Ringling and its employees repeatedly violated the Animal Welfare Act. PETA is calling on the agency to seize the 11 elephants currently used by Ringling’s Red Unit and place them in an environment where their physical and mental well-being are protected.

PETA also filed a criminal complaint with the ASPCA, as well as other law enforcement officers and prosecutors in seven states stretching from Alabama to Rhode Island. In addition, PETA filed a U.S. Department of the Interior compaint about Ringling’s mistreatment of endangered animals.

That’s what PETA has done—now what can you do? For starters, please personalize and send an automated message to Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack, urging him to seize the 11 elephants used in the circus.  (The message can be found at You can  also send an automated message to New York City officials and Taconic Investments to express your disappointment that they are allowing Ringling Bros. to perform in Coney Island this summer.

In addition, please send the video to all of your friends and relatives and post it on your Facebook account and other social networking sites. Spreading the word is key, so write a letter to the editor of your local paper to inform others about Ringling’s abusive actions. If you know families who attend the circus, urge them to insead patronize animal-friendly circuses like Cirque du Soliel. We must let children have fun—but not at animals’ expense. 



W. C
W. Cabout a year ago


William C
William Cabout a year ago

Thank you for caring.

Valentina Price
Valentina Price5 years ago

Very sad to think that these poor animals are treated so badly. Under NO circumstances should the use of whips, steel tipped bullhooks or any other type of punishment be used on these animals. As a matter of fact, why do animals have to be used at all? Why can't these shows include acts where individuals have willing made the choice to perform, such as tight rope, acrobatics,etc. Why do animals have to be used? They are placed in cages with limited space, transported from state to state for performances and then we hear that they are being abused on to of it. If the animals react in a defensive manner, people question why. Shouldn't the answer to that question be obvious? Valentina Price

Jonathan Y.
Jonathan Y7 years ago

Boycott Ringling - they are a horror show.

Mark G.
Mark G.9 years ago

yet another case of people making $$ off of the pain and torture of animals. they are slaves to human whims & are suffering needlessly. i wonder if human's will even be around long enough to see the errors of our ways.

"I don’t hold animals superior or even equal to humans. The whole case for behaving decently to animals rests on the fact that we are the superior species. We are the species uniquely capable of imagination, rationality, and moral choice – and that is precisely why we are under an obligation to recognize and respect the rights of animals."
—Brigid Brophy (1929–1995)

CR C9 years ago

They should get them out as soon as they can. I watched a elephanet by the name of Ned that was saved late last year and just to see him roam around in his new habitat was beautiful. He pasted away six month later but to free would of been amazing for him. They need to get the elephanet now for Ned and to be free hopefully for many years.

Eve Care
.9 years ago

From the article above: "An undercover investigator from PETA traveled with Ringling’s Red Unit and saw employees digging steel-tipped bullhooks into the sensitive skin behind elephants' knees and under their trunks..."

@John S: "Sticking" and "Digging" are two different things, but they are both levels of abuse. Are you are just condoning the lower level here?

Consider what kind of emotion the animals are expressing when they have tears? Do you really believe they are truly in JOY when someone uses a bullhook on them, no matter if it is sticking action or a digging action? How do you REALLY know it does not hurt them?

How would you like it if someone came along and bullhooked you in a sensetive area? Don't you get it - it isn't right to do that to an animal! If you haven't experienced it yourself then don't make that kind of judgment about another animal-you don't know what they are feeling-and making assumptions about it is just plain ignorance. I truly hope one day you see the truth. Bless your heart.

As for Ringling, I'm devastated at what they do to the animals, and feel they should have been shut down years ago, but it always takes time to wake others up. The animals ought to have proper sanctuary and rehabilitation too, and I too wonder if the FDA can provide that kind of thing for them? I'm watching this like a hawk...

Cynthia Mattera
Cynthia Mattera9 years ago

Sad that Ringling Brothers has been around forever, and I;m sure, so is there abusive treatment of these animals. They need to be shut down for good! This is not entertainment, it's abusue at it's worst! These aniamls deserve to be free, out in their own environment, not tortured & kept like slaves for our entertainment. Shame on Ringling Brother's!

darla h.
darla h9 years ago

I say,shut down the use of any animals in the circus,animals aren't meant to live that way and people need to be stopped in using and abusing animals for money,intertainment,etc.We have alot of people who are sick minded and don't have a problem not caring about animals and their welfare,someone needs to put an end to these people who don't care.Chain these people up to a post for one yr and treat them ill for show and maybe they will see how wrong they are. I too am worried what the FDA will do with these animals and where they will end up at,Who will save these animals from them?

Carolina G.
Carolina G.9 years ago

if you are from ny or nj or u want to drive come to coney island we are protesting from wednesday to sunday from 9:30 on, outside the ringling broters circus !! we need lots of people come and help us