(CIRCUS ANIMAL ABUSE) CALIFORNIA — Whether they’re co-starring in a movie or performing in a circus, chances are these animals have been mistreated. While the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus denies claims of animal abuse and mistreatment, it can no longer deny the staggering evidence caught on tape by some Anaheim natives. Learn about the plight of one over-worked, under-loved elephant, and find out how you can help Sarah and many more abused circus animals. — Global Animal
Change.org, Laura Goldman
Late at night on Sunday, August 6, in Anaheim, Calif., as the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was loading its performing animals onto boxcars, an elephant named Sarah fell from a ramp and collapsed on the ground.
Ringling is claiming that the stumble was entirely accidental — the 53-year-old elephant simply lost her footing while boarding the train and unsuccessfully trying to back down the ramp.
But that’s not what it looked like to eyewitness Ameer Sanghvi, who told NBC LA, “They were struggling to get her on the ramp. She finally managed to get on the ramp and that’s when she collapsed on her back, on the gravel with rough rocks.”
Just last month, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) reported that the USDA had cited Ringling in June for violating the Animal Welfare Act by failing to provide proper treatment for the same elephant. Sarah has a history of having a pus-like discharge in her urine and an elevated white cell count. Per the USDA inspection report, her handlers ignored Ringling’s senior veterinarian’s orders to treat the infection, which could become fatal if neglected.
Sarah is not the only sick or injured elephant being forced to perform by Ringling. Barack is barely 3 years old but has already suffered two bouts of elephant herpes virus, a deadly disease. Instead of pulling him from the circus and retiring him to an elephant sanctuary where he could peacefully live a full life, Ringling continues to make Barack stick to his stressful schedule of constant training, performing and traveling.
Animal Defenders International (ADI) has filed a formal complaint with USDA Western Regional Director Robert M. Gibbens, asking him to remove Sarah from the circus.
Matt Rossell, ADI’s campaigns director, stated, “Sarah is sick, and the stress and fatigue has likely led to this dangerous fall. This elephant needs to be taken off the road immediately so she can be properly evaluated and treated by a veterinarian.”
But Feld Entertainment, Ringling’s parent company, scoffs at those concerned about Sarah’s welfare. It issued a statement of its own last week, insisting that Sarah is perfectly healthy and deeming ADI’s claims about her fall as “not only false but grossly out of context … It is appalling that ADI would manipulate an incident and the public to further their agenda.”
Last month, Danielle Graham, Ringling’s director of veterinarian services, told Sign On San Diego, “Our contention is that she is not sick and never has been. We think that it is wrong to cite us over what basically is a difference of veterinarian opinions.”
Brian French, the elephant manager for Ringling, boasted to the Orange County Register on Thursday that Sarah has never missed a performance. Sure enough, the elephant is back at work at Ringling’s current stop in Ontario, Calif.
Instead of performing handstands, Sarah should be receiving veterinary care. Sign the petition telling the USDA to remove Sarah from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.