In recent years, several former
employees of Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus
have been shedding light on the way elephants are mistreated
under the Big Top the animals are "broken,"
"trained," and "disciplined" with sharp
metal bull hooks, and kept on chains for most of their lives.
Other members of the public have captured the mistreatment
on videotape, as the circus arrives in their cities and
accounts of mistreatment and abuse have spurred people throughout
the country to speak up on behalf of the elephants. One
prominent spokesman was Tom Rider, who worked for the circus
for two and a half years from 1997 to 1999. The Wildlife
Advocacy Project has supported efforts to educate the public
about how circus elephants are really treated and to dispel
the myths perpetuated by these extremely profitable circuses.
Click here to
see live footage of Ringling Brothers' mistreatment of elephants
on You Tube (or click on video player below). To learn
more about elephants, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey
Circus, and efforts to protect elephants from abuse keep reading.
the elephant species most often used by circuses, are endangered
in the wild, due to poaching, hunting, and the destruction of their
natural habitat. They are listed as "endangered" under
the Endangered Species Act, which prohibits anyone from "killing,"
"harming," or "harassing" them. To learn more click here.
the "Cruelest Show on Earth" by many animal advocates,
Ringling Brothers has three traveling circuses: the "Red"
and "Blue" Units, and the "Gold Unit"
or "Hometown Edition." It also has both a breeding
and retirement facility for the elephants it uses in it's
circus. To learn more click
by several former Ringling Brothers employees, there is a culture
of abuse at the circus that includes the constant use of bull hooks
and other weapons on the elephants, and routine chaining while the
elephants are transported throughout the country to perform. The
animals perform between 48-50 weeks each year, with up to 3 performances
a day. They are chained in box cars while traveling from town to
town, chained all night long, and chained for most of the day. The mistreatment occurs with both adult
and baby elephants. To learn more click here.
the time they are born at Ringling Brothers' breeding facility,
the baby elephants are torn away from their mothers, trained
with bull hooks to perform tricks in the circus, and kept
on chains. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has concluded
that Ringling Brothers' routine "separation" of
baby elephants from their mothers using ropes around
their legs to forcibly remove the nursing babies from their
mothers causes the young elephants "trauma, behavorial stress, physical harm, and unnecessary
discomfort." In recent years, at least four baby elephants
have died prematurely while under Ringling Brothers' care.
To learn more click
the infamous founder of Ringling Brothers circus, P.T. Barnum, boasted
that "there's a sucker born every minute," it
is up to the public to learn the truth about what goes on
behind the Big Top. To learn more click