Thank you for your Thursday story on PETA’s recent circus protest and the debate over the treatment of endangered Asian elephants in the circus. (“PETA activist creates her own circus on Everett street corner.”)
While the article framed the debate about Ringling’s care in general terms, it failed to mention the groundbreaking federal lawsuit against the circus giant for its mistreatment of elephants, which will be heard in a Washington D.C., courtroom beginning Oct. 20. This lawsuit is based on actual evidence against Ringling Bros., not just unsubstantiated claims by animal advocacy groups.
Ringling Bros. employees have repeatedly been documented hitting elephants with bullhooks, which are heavy, pointed pokers with a sharp hook at the end. In fact, one employee saw “an elephant dripping blood all over the arena floor during the show from being hooked.” Ringling elephants are chained all the time except when performing. Evidence from the lawsuit proves that elephants have been chained for 77 consecutive hours.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of information presented in the federal lawsuit and this information, no matter how upsetting, needs to be shared with the public so that people, especially parents spending their hard-earned dollars, can make a truly informed decision about what they teach their children is acceptable treatment of wild and endangered animals. Abusing elephants with bullhooks and chains, standard industry practices, is simply unacceptable.
Director of Public Relations
Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute
(plaintiff in the federal lawsuit against Ringling Bros.)