Famous Circus and Aninimal Cruelty

Elephant Being Hooked to Walk - Hooked by Trainer
United States
April 21, 2007 7:26am CST
I have detested the circus since I was a teenager and personally witnesses how cruelly animnals were forced to train animals to due what nature never meant their bodies to do. What is your opinion on this subject? BTW wat I snoped this email I received and it is not a hoax. As an eyewitness to the barbaric practices that take place behind the scenes at Ringling, I'd like to tell you exactly what happens so that you can help me spread the word to people who still think that circuses that use animals are good family "entertainment." I joined Ringling last April because I wanted the opportunity to work with animals every day. I was totally unprepared for what I saw. The public has no idea that Ringling's handlers are taught to keep the animals afraid. I saw the elephants, horses, and camels get hit, punched, beaten, and whipped by circus staff members. Everyone from the head of animal care to totally inexperienced handlers abused animals. The abuse did not take place once in a while; it happened every day. Witnessing this abuse left me a nervous wreck. I routinely complained to my supervisors about what I knew was outright cruelty to animals, but I was told repeatedly that I was overreacting. Just a few months after I'd joined, I quit Ringling because I couldn't stand the cruelty inherent in the circus any longer. I was an animal lover before I joined Ringling. Now, I am also an animal activist. I have joined PETA's efforts to stop the horrific violence inflicted on animals by Ringling. I am a mother of five children, and having seen what goes on behind the scenes at Ringling, I will never again take them to a circus that exploits animals. Among all the horrors I saw behind the scenes at Ringling, one event stands out. That was the day I saw Ringling's head trainer viciously assault a sweet elephant who was chained by her front and back legs, unable to escape from the blows. For at least half an hour, the trainer beat her with a bullhook—a heavy, steel-tipped club that Ringling's handlers use frequently. At one point, I saw the trainer swing the bullhook into the elephant's ear canal with all his force as she screamed in pain. That particular trainer was known to have a violent temper. On June 11, 2006, I saw him lead two elephants, whom I believe were called Luna and Tonka, within inches of a man who was videotaping them. Luna and Tonka are Ringling's most aggressive elephants, and I was shocked that the trainer would so recklessly endanger this man's life. I then saw the trainer attack the man with his bullhook. It was only later that I learned that the person the trainer had threatened worked for PETA Photo Elephant Being Hooked to Walk
7 people like this
14 responses
@lonewolfnan (4367)
• Canada
22 Apr 07
When growing up,I loved going to the circus every year it came to town.To see all of the incredible beasts I had only read about or seen on a little black and white tv was a sight I would never forget.But as I got older I would read how many circus animals in far-away places were treated badly or left alone to die in the winter.I could not make the conection between those animals and the huge,happy-looking animals that came to our town once a year.But the older i got the more I realized that an animal in a circus was there only as long as it was profitable and would be destroyed when it could not pull its own weight anymore.I have not been to a circus involving animals in about 25 years now.I enjoy going to some zoos but prefer to see animals now either in the wild or on a TV special.My g/f and I have a favorite station now called Animal Planet and along with National Geograghic are our favorite stations.
• United States
22 Apr 07
We seem to be alike in our likes and dislikes. I enjoy some zoos where the animales see to be well cared for and I also like the same TV channels. I have never been a fan of visiting Disney World or theme parks until I went to Busch Gardens. That was great and so huge. I rode the monorail (I think that's what it called) and I saw giraffes and other animals running free as if they were in the own natural habitat. It was great I hope to go back again.
2 people like this
@crazynurse (7489)
• United States
21 Apr 07
Whether or not the particular email that you refer is a hoax or not, to capture animals, have them live in a cage and then threaten them with fear to have them do what we wish is cruel! Can you imagine being placed in a small bathroom and not let out until another person came with a whip and then whipped you into submission into various body contortions? Then if you were good, they would sling you some food. NO, this is definitely animal cruelty and I don't agree with it.
4 people like this
@estherlou (5020)
• United States
22 Apr 07
I was shocked to read your post. I just assumed that there were regulations in place to protect animals in the circus. And Ringling has been around forever. You would think they would be one of the "good" ones! I'll have to look into PETA.
3 people like this
@estherlou (5020)
• United States
22 Apr 07
Here is a link telling about the circus and the trainers. http://www.circuses.com/
3 people like this
• United States
22 Apr 07
I did get that email from PETA
2 people like this
@gabs8513 (48717)
• United Kingdom
22 Apr 07
Oh dear Heather I have never really liked the circus and my Kids I don't believe either as I did not think it was fair what they made them Animals do half the time and now you have confirmed to me what I have always been suspicious of.
3 people like this
@marciascott (25555)
• United States
22 Apr 07
I never knew those animals at a Cirus were being miss treated. That is something I just learned from you. You learn something new everyday!
3 people like this
• United States
22 Apr 07
That is really horrible, animals don't need to be trained by cruelty. Animals learn through love better than cruelty. I think an animal taught by cruelty is more at risk of rebellious behavior than an animal handled with love. Maybe there needs to be some regulations for animals training, and they should be enforced. Seeing an animal mistreated is one sure way to get me really angry. What are these trainers thinking of anyway, these animals are the primary source of their income and they could seriously damage them. That comes very close to cutting your nose off to spiye your face. Needless to say circuses will not be on my entertainment list anymore.
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
21 Apr 07
This is terrible and I havent gone to a circus for years! You also would think that the animals would turn on the trainers .Horses usually do if the are beaten. BUt if they did they would probably shoot them for it! Hope they can get that man fired that hurt the Elephants!!!!!!
3 people like this
• United States
23 Apr 07
I have to say, I too have always thought it was sad to see Circus animals. That lifestyle sucks when you're human, I cannot imagine how horrible it must be as an animal, living in those small cages the rest of their life. I'm actually surprised there aren't more incidents with the animals from their penned up lifestyle. I have to say, I have taken my oldest daughter to one circus and it was fun to see and enjoy the entertainment but when we left even she, at 4 years old or so, realized how sad it was that these animals had to live like this. Some people say, well zoos are just as bad, but they're not. Most zoo animals are kept in quarters where they mimick their lifestyle in the wild and often are endangered species that the zoos are brining back or saving. At least the animals in zoos are maintained well and don't get stressed from moving from town to town either.
• United States
27 Apr 07
I applaud you for posting this and to the person who is telling what she saw behind the scenes at the circus if it's true. I am VEEERRRY leery of PETA though! I have worked with animals and for animal welfare for many, many years and while PETA has some good in it the organization is also far too radical, not honest about their true agendas, misusing funds, and more. Just take a look at one incident involving PETA: http://petakillsanimals.com/ I have a hard time believing an organization is working FOR animal welfare when they do things like this. There are also instances of PETA members releasing dogs from crates at shows where they were in danger of being lost, stolen, hit by cars, etc. and putting ground up glass into their water bowls! I will not join with PETA until they truly do 100% fight for animal welfare but the point of this post is still an excellent one. Wherever people are making a profit from animals I can guarantee there is abuse of animals involved. Circuses, backyard breeders, pet stores, the meat industry...all of them and many more are guilty of some real atrocities. The best thing anyone can do is try to educate others, help speak up for better legislation to protect animals, and vote with your pocketbook by not giving your money to any person or organization that exploits animals.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Apr 07
I did get this info from PETA and I do not donate money to them as they do not have a good reputation I prefer ASPCA. I really posted this because of what I personally have witnessed and as I prefer animals to people I do all I can to help them. (Animals not people) although I do some volunteer work at a "people" nursing home. LOL
@irisheyes (4373)
• United States
24 Apr 07
I never cared for the circus much either. We didn't have many of them around when I was a kid of about five. I only remember once when a real live circus came to a town near where I lived. My dad was supposed to take us and for some reason couldn't but he took us the next day to see thm packing up the tents. Unfortunately, the police also came and arrested a of circus folk. I don't know if that's what turned me off or if I just don't find them very entertaining. Probably, a little of both. Also, I'm a big animal lover and I don't like seeing animals in captivity even in the zoo.
1 person likes this
@5000ml (1923)
• Belgium
24 Apr 07
Thank you so much for posting this, even though it's incredibly shocking and upsetting. I looked on wikipedia and found the following information: "Over the years the Ringling Brothers Circus has received much criticism for putting its animals used for show through cruel abuse. Allegations range from not providing adequate food and water for their animals to torturing elephants with bullhooks. Undercover investigators have videotaped trainers beating elephants, contrary to statements that the animals are trained exclusively through positive reinforcement. The lawsuit alleges that trainers use a stick with a sharpened metal hook on the end (called a “bullhook” or “ankus”) to repeatedly beat, pull, push, torment and threaten elephants. The USDA has issued several citations against the circus, including failure to provide veterinary care to a dying baby elephant, failure to provide animals with sufficient space, failure to provide animals with exercise, endangering tigers who were nearly baked alive in a boxcar because of poor maintenance of their enclosures and numerous others. The circus has failed to meet minimum federal standards for the care of animals used in exhibition as established in the Animal Welfare Act." Why can't anything serious be done against this circus and other circuses like it? The last time I went to a circus was 10 years ago and at least the animals seemed to be treated well (you could go visit them between the shows), but the whole thing of using animals as entertainment just sickens me and I refuse to visit a circus ever again.
@Thoroughrob (11750)
• United States
23 Apr 07
This is so horrible. I always wondered how they could get the animals to do what they want. I hope that trainer gets what he deserves.
1 person likes this
@soccermom (3200)
• United States
23 Apr 07
I just took my kids to the Garden Bros. circus last week. We had a great time, and the only animals they had were elephants, and a guy walking around with a big snake. Now that I thin kabout it though there were a lot of dogs that were part of various acts, and although the animals all appeared to be well treated I have to wonder what type of toll all that travel takes on them. Most of the circus was clowns, trapeze artists and they had a motorcycle show. I paid $25 for one ticket to get in, and though we had a great time I would've been just as happy to take that money to one of the great zoos we have in our region to see those types of animals.
1 person likes this
• China
22 Apr 07
I know you .