As Ringling Bros. Heads to Worcester, PETA Releases Exposé of Circus’s Elephant-Breeding Compound

By David Perle

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is bringing its elephant act to Worcester for the last time, but many people are asking what will happen once the elephants “retire” to Ringling’s Florida training facility.

A new PETA report reveals that elephants kept at the facility, which the circus calls the “Center for Elephant Conservation,” are separated from their mothers shortly after birth, chained for more than 16 hours each day on concrete, and beaten with bullhooks—weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp metal hook on one end. The report also calls the facility “a hotbed of tuberculosis.”

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PETA — whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way” — is calling on Ringling to retire all animals held by the circus without delay and send the elephants to an accredited sanctuary where they’d have acres to roam, freedom from physical abuse, and the opportunity to socialize with other elephants.

“PETA’s report reveals that Ringling Bros. plans to continue using and abusing elephants by keeping them chained, jabbing them with bullhooks, and depriving them of everything that’s natural and important to them—such as freedom of movement and maintaining contact with their babies,” says PETA Foundation Captive Animal Law Enforcement Counsel Rachel Mathews. “If this circus cared one whisker for animals’ welfare, it would send these elephants to an accredited sanctuary where they’d be cared for, not exploited as moneymakers.”

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