Tag Archives: DCU Center

I passed on the DCU event for the sake of animals

By Mike Germain

Last week I was offered four free admission tickets to an upcoming event at the DCU Convention Center for myself, my girlfriend, her son and my son.

The event is a sort of travelling carnival, complete with kiddie rides, refreshments, raffles and, of course, the obligatory kiddie zoo.

The zoo was listed as complete with a bull, camel rides, monkeys, and a petting zoo, etc.

Ah, Yes! The annual travelling zoo and carnival is making its way back to these parts!

Because the offer of the free tickets was thoughtful and made with all good intentions, I accepted the tickets and thanked my friend. But we didn’t go. The tickets  brought back memories …

Three years ago I had a very similar experience. I came across tickets to this very same event with pretty much the same advertising : “kiddie rides, petting zoo, camel rides, live animals” etc. I thought to myself, this may be a great way to spend some quality time with my girlfriend and her 4-year-old son.

So off we went for the afternoon to the so-called carnival and traveling zoo. Upon arrival, my girlfriend’s son sprinted through the doors! His first experience was some sort of bull, the biggest bull you can imagine, lying in a pile of hay enclosed by a metal fence. The area that this bull was in was barely large enough for him to stand up and turn around. Our four year old was cognizant enough about the situation to ask me: “Is the cow OK? He can’t get much exercise!”

The cage the bull (cow) was kept in to transport when not on display was just as compact as this fencing area – if not smaller.

Next we moved on to the area that had some monkeys. They were displayed in another small cage, and the number of monkeys housed in it seemed substantial to me.

I saw the look on our once excited four year old become very confused. He asked us: “Why can’t the monkeys move?”

This definitely tempered our enthusiasm for the day.

At that point I looked around and saw what seemed to be similar situations at most of the other exhibits: Animals caged or housed in enclosures that seemed much too small for their size or housing too many animals.

My girlfriend’s son was visibly upset and we decided it would be best to just leave.

He thought the animals were “unhappy.”

I love animals of all different kinds, and I love to watch them in their natural environment. I’m not a follower of PETA and quite frankly I think they go a bit too far. However, this experience opened my eyes to the traveling zoo culture, and it certainly made me more sympathetic to the plight of these animals.

I urge others not to attend this event.

If you want to satisfy your love for animals in their natural environment and enjoy the beauty of their existence, I suggest tuning into The Animal Planet on cable network.

Michael (Mike) Germain is a former Worcester City Councilor, a Worcester small biz owner, supporter of the Worcester Friendly House, kids ice hockey teams and other Worcester youth sports teams. He owns a very large parrot!

Worcester’s DCU center and animal cruelty

January 29, 2015

Editor:

It’s a shame that organizers of the Kids Fun Fair and Zoo [at the DCU center] are offering camel and elephant rides.  Such cruel animal exploitation should be condemned, not condoned.

Elephants forced to give rides are controlled through fear.

Elephants obey or know they will be hit with bullhooks, heavy batons with a sharp steel hook on the end – picture getting whacked with a fireplace poker.

Handlers strike elephants on the most sensitive parts of their bodies – behind the ears, their face and feet.

If we look at what life on the road means to elephants compared to their place in nature, we can see how far we have degraded these complex and keenly intelligent animals.

There is nothing more important to an elephant than family. Births are joyous celebrations; deaths of loved ones are mourned. Youngsters are nurtured in close-knit family units in which aunts babysit, grandmothers teach youngsters life skills such as how to use different kinds of leaves and mud to ward off sunburn, and siblings roughhouse and play.

Elephants have the largest brains of any mammal on Earth and think, plan and remember. Elephants truly never do forget; their memories are extraordinary.

Young camels used to provide rides are often ripped from their nurturing mothers when they are only days old so they can get “used to” public contact.

Camels are naturally free-roaming animals and fare very poorly when kept continuously in transport trailers and small pens. They can be skittish and unpredictable.

Both Bactrian and Dromedary camels have a poor tolerance for rough handling. This presents a potentially hazardous situation for both the riders and the animals.

Please think about the poor quality of life for these animals, who are hauled around in trucks and forced to plod in endless circles all day long.

There’s little respite between events, and when not working, they spend their lives in cages and chains.

Renting animals out for rides does nothing to foster respect. Children learn that animals can be exploited for their fleeting distraction and amusement.

The Kids Fun Fair and Zoo should stop supporting cruel animal displays.

Yours truly,

Jennifer O’Connor
Senior Writer
PETA Foundation
501 Front St.
Norfolk, VA 23510

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From the editor:

PLEASE BOYCOTT THIS DCU EVENT! Exotic animals NEVER BELONG IN TRAVELING “SHOWS”!   To be EXPLOITED, WHIPPED, HAVE THEIR SKIN TORN BY BULLHOOKS! Please!  Don’t take your kids to this “fun” event.      – R. Tirella

The Worcester City Council and Ringling Bros. Circus

BOYCOTT THE CIRCUS!

By Rosalie Tirella

The above photo says it all, doesn’t it? Underscores the cruelty/absurdity of wild animal acts in circuses. Wild, undomesticated, man-eating big cats weighing hundreds of pounds, standing on their tippy toes – for its trainer, for you, for your kids – for YOUR entertainment. Tigers living in India or Africa, where they roam hundreds of miles to hunt, eat, mate, raise their young ones brought to cities like Worcester on trains, baking in the summer in their box cars, freezing in the winter in their boxcars. Tigers and other large predators keep ecosystems in check … . They are gorgeous … . They are wild creatures that belong in the wild. But we keep them in tiny cages and make idiots of them … literally make them mad/insane.

Why does America do this to beautiful wild things? (Circuses showcasing wild animals are banned in the European Union.) Why does America continue to do what we have been doing since the white man enslaved black men, women and children and killed all the Indians? Why do we hold onto this last bit of American brutality? Why do we enslave? Why do we refuse to see the truth: that these animals do not belong anywhere near Worcester or humans – forced/tortured to do stupid tricks. Hate to admit this, but there is poetic justice every time one of the performing tigers or lions or elephants, at wit’s end, mauls/kills his/her trainer. “Turns on them” – as if the animals were ever on our side.  Of course, then, we acknowledge the lion’s/tiger’s wildness and kill it immediately.

How does Worcester fit into all this?

A few years ago a friend and I went to visit then Mayor Joe O’Brien. I liked Joe being mayor of Worcester, thought he was incredibly sensitive to people and animals. I believed if Worcester were to follow in the steps of other Mass citites like Northampton, Cambridge and heck, even Revere, and BAN wild animal acts from our fair city, now would be the time to strike. So many people in Worcester love and care for abused animals or adopt homeless dogs from animal shelters or feed feral cat colonies! (I have done all of this and maintained two feral cat colonies for TEN YEARS!)

Any ways, my friend and I went to Joe O’Brien and told him how we – and lots of local folks – felt about circuses that showcase wild animal acts. Joe being Joe, didn’t need any educating or convincing. He told us he was on the animals’ side and that he would be behind a new proposed ordinance in Worcester: NO WILD ANIMAL acts in Worcester.

YES to clowns and Cirque de Soleil and acrobats and all magicians and huge marionettes and Bread and Circus! NO to tigers and lions and elephants and all the companies that parade them in front of  us humans! Joe O’Brien (now a Worcester city councilor) felt the cirucs was no way to expose kids – especially working class kids – to nature/Africa/wild animals/ecosystems. He told us Ringling Bros Circus had called his office – the mayor’s office – to do a kind of public relations stunt/photo op: The Mayor of Worcester hangs out on CITY HALL Common and feeds the circus elephants! The mayor (and thus, all of Worcester!) welcomes the wonderful circus to our city! Joe’s office said NO THANKS.  No one was rude to Ringling, no one pontificated. The mayor simply let the circus know that he, representing the city, wanted no part of this travesty.

Wow! My friend and I were encouraged! O’Brien told us to talk with the other city councilors to see if we could get a passing vote. We called/visited the other 10 Worcester City Councilors and made this progress:

* Former District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller was on board! YES from Barb!  Hooray! An owner of a few rescued pit bulls from the surrounding Main South ‘hood in which she lived, Barb was clued into animal suffering and pain. She said she would vote for the ban.

* Past and PRESENT City Councilor Mike Germain also wanted to vote YES! Germain really impressed me! He told me of all the animals he owns and loves and that when he and his girlfriend and her little kid went into a kind of circus tent downtown to see the animals that they were showing the public, he was so appalled by their cramped/inhumane cages/living quarters that he and his girlfriend and her kid turned right around and WALKED OUT! Thank you, Councilor Germain!

* City Councilor Konstantina Lukes was, I believe, on board.  I counted Konnie as a YES because she is a sensitive person, and a cool person and cares about animals and people and our city. She listened to the points I made to her when I visited her. She came outside (walked me to my car) and gave my big old retriever mix Bailey (Bailey, like my Husky dog Jett, always rode with me in my car) a pat. She told me she thought my dog was beautiful! He was! (He had nasal cancer at that point, my Bailey Boy did. He died within the year.)

So with O’Brien, Lukes,  Haller and Germain on board, I was optimistic! Hopeful!

Then the Worcester municipal election came and went, and a different city council – one less progressive/sensitive, I believe – is now “leading” our city. So, of course, City Manager Mike O’Brien has given his blessing to all the animal torture! Of course, the elephants, tired and sad looking, were paraded through our city streets! Last year Ringling Bros. circus even managed to ingratiate themselves with the great people at the Worcester Historical Museum and added their elephants to the city’s World Smiley Day celebration, defiling an otherwise sweet Worcester celebration.

Let’s get back on track, Worcester! Let’s educate ourselves! Let’s educate our city council and city leaders AND BAN THIS HORROR SHOW from our cool, cool city – a city filled with good, smart, down to earth people who know how to care for each other … and the wild animals of the planet.

Protesters will draw attention to Ringling Bros. Circus’ violent treatment of baby elephants!

PETA’S ‘ INJURED ELEPHANT’  TO  CONFRONT POTENTIAL CIRCUS GOERS IN WORCESTER!

What: An “injured elephant” will lead PETA protesters on Wednesday as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus prepares for its opening show in Worcester. The protesters will display signs that read, “This Is Ringling Baby-Elephant Training,” alongside banners emblazoned with compelling photos taken inside Ringling’s training center. The photos expose how baby elephants used by Ringling are stretched out, slammed to the ground, gouged with steel-tipped bull hooks, and shocked with electric prods. These abusive sessions go on for several hours a day in order to force the baby elephants to learn to perform circus tricks out of fear of punishment. Actor Alec Baldwin recently narrated avideo  exposé that focuses on how circuses abuse elephants.

“Worcester residents would run screaming from the big top if they knew how baby elephants are violently forced to perform difficult, confusing, and sometimes painful tricks,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “Since children love  animals, the last place that parents and grandparents should take them to is the circus.”

Late last year, Ringling Bros. paid the largest fine in circus history—$270,000—for violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Where: DCU Center, at the intersection of Major Taylor Boulevard and Foster Street, Worcester

When: Wednesday, October 3, 12 noon

For more info,  call or email, David Perle at 202-483-7382, extension 2194, orDavidP@peta.org.

For more information, please visit PETA’s website RinglingBeatsAnimals.com.

 

 

Worcester comes out against Ringling!

By Deb Young

VegWorcester and Private Citizens for Pets in Peril , two Worcester based organizations met with many concerned people from around the region and members of the Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition last month to protest the Ringling Bros. Circus, outside the DCU Center.

We met with much support and very little criticism, only one man who walked by shouted at an older protester for her to “Get a life” and her quick response was “ I have one, Do you?” Not bad for the several hours we were there to only run into one ignorant person.

Thumbs up and waves, Honks of horns, and “Good Job” from cars driving by.

Even the worker handing out programs for Ringling kept a good sense of humor about the whole thing, asking every so often if we would switch places and signs so he could read something different.

After we were done I actually approached him and said, “ I know we are on opposite sides here, but thanks for maintaining a good attitude about this” to which he responded “ Hey, People have to do what they believe in and besides you and company have been nothing but respectful, I have seen many protesters shout and try to assault me, so fair is fair. You treated me respectfully so I will do the same.”

But here are the facts as to why we were there. testimony from former circus workers who have come forward about the abuse, and USDA documents.

Since 1993 Ringling Bros. has been cited more then one hundred times & Ringling has failed to meet minimal federal standards for the care of animals used in exhibition as established by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Since 2000, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Ringling numerous times for serious AWA noncompliance’s, including the following: improper handling of dangerous animals; failure to provide adequate veterinary care to animals including an elephant with a stiff leg, an elephant with a large swelling on her leg, elephants with abrasions, a camel with bloody wounds, and a camel injured on train tracks; causing trauma, behavioral stress, physical harm, and unnecessary discomfort to two elephants who sustained injuries when they ran amok during a performance; endangering tigers who were nearly baked alive in a boxcar because of poor maintenance of their enclosures; failure to test elephants for tuberculosis; and unsanitary feeding practices. The USDA has at least three open investigations of potential violations of the AWA by Ringling.

Example. In 2004, a 2 year old lion named Clyde died from what is believed to be dehydration and heatstroke while being transported through the Mohave Desert. A former handler alleged that Ringling managers would not stop the train to provide water because they were behind schedule.

Ringling has a long history of animal abuse. Ringling has been sued for alleged mistreatment, including beating its Asian elephants with bull hooks, constant chaining, and forcible separation of babies from their mothers. Evidence includes undercover video,

To see some of this video footage go to: http://www.ringlingbeatsanimals.com/

Circuses that exploit animals often make lofty claims about their “educational” value and their contributions to “conservation.”

But the real message that these circuses send to children is that it’s acceptable to abuse animals for amusement and profit. And the
conservation claims made by many circuses are merely veiled attempts to justify the exploitation of animals for commercial gain.

Endangered animals born in circus “conservation” programs have never been and will never be released into the wild – they are doomed,
instead, to life in captivity. In addition, these breeding programs have very low success rates.

Helen Rayshick, Executive Director of MARC says, “Ringling has a long track record of animal abuse and neglect, and if good people knew the truth, they wouldn’t allow their children anywhere near this circus. Circuses are not “good clean fun” for anyone.

Using animals in circuses is an unnecessary and inhumane practice that’s harmful to both the animals and the public. Unlike the human performers who choose to work in circuses, exotic animals are forced to take part in the show. They are involuntary actors in a degrading, painful, unnatural spectacle. Standard circus industry training tools used on animals include bull hooks, whips, clubs, and electric prods. Their “training” as babies is especially brutal.

After training, they spend virtually their whole lives in chains and boxcars when they aren’t performing. Animals used in circuses have been injured and killed, and have injured and killed humans. Local charities often use these circuses to generate funds but there are plenty of non-animal circuses to choose from at all levels of cost.

There are plenty of non-animal circuses to support that are actually more fun that animal circuses, like Circus Smirkus.

Boycott Ringling Bros. Circus – the Cruelest Show on Earth!

By Rosalie Tirella

How pathetic. As if she had nothing better to report on, a Worcester TV 3 news tart (why are all the gals there look as if they are on the brink of anorexia?) had to bite the Ringling Bros. Circus p.r.-bait and do a feature on their clowns coming to our schools to teach our kids about exercise.

Pathetic girl reporter!

Ringling Bros. Circus will be putting on their horrific animal shows in Worcester in less than a week. More and more, people all over the world are telling circuses that use exotic/wild animals to FUCK OFF. Instead, they embrace Cirque de Soleil and other circuses that use only people acts to entertain crowds. Didn’t the TV 3 “news” girl see Ringling was using their clowns as a PR ploy? To suck our kids/families into attending their circus? To come up with something so innocuous so that peple think COOL! I want to go there! And then they forget about all the lions, tigers and elephants – wild animals which God created to roam thousands of miles in beautiful jungles or wild grasslands – exotic animals who are carted around in circus metal box cars – un-airconditioned in the summer, un-heated in the winter. And to do what? To be whipped and chained and degraded – all for the kiddies’ pleasure! To stand on red rubber balls, jump through hoops of fire, to wear tutus.

Wake up TV 3! Wake up moron TV 3 news editor Andy LaComb! This is not news! Like half the crap you run on your station, this is PR CRAP that distorts the truth! Ringling Bros. Circus is a mult-billion-dollar corporation that has pr professionals brainstorming day and night on just how to trick good people/families to forget the horrific lives that their tigers, lions, elephants and other wild animals lead (as slaves) in their travelling torture show.

Last year Ringling Bros. called Mayor Joe O’Brien. They wanted to do a press event where “their” elephants would be fed by our mayor in front of our City Hall. The mayor told me his office declined – he told me he wanted no part of Ringling’s business.

So of course, Ringling come up with other ways to use their animals for free publicity in Worcester. We heard from a friend that they are loaning their elpehants to our World Smiley Day event. How horrible! What a frown-inducing experience!

Let’s get these circuses out of our city for good! Let’s ban them! Go, Joe O’Brien, and other good people! Go!

Here are some stories on Ringling Bros. Circus and elephants and more. Read them and get educated!

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Animal Abuse begins at Ringling

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is known for its long history of abusing animals. In 1929, John Ringling ordered the execution of a majestic bull elephant named Black Diamond after the elephant killed a woman who had been in the crowd as he was paraded through a Texas city. Twenty men took aim and pumped some 170 bullets into Black Diamond’s body, then chopped off his bullet-ridden head and mounted it for display in Houston, Texas.
Ringling’s cruel treatment of animals continues today.

Elephants in Ringling’s possession are chained inside filthy, poorly ventilated boxcars for an average of more than 26 straight hours—and often 60 to 70 hours at a time—when the circus travels. Even former Ringling employees have reported that elephants are routinely abused and violently beaten with bullhooks (an elephant-training tool that resembles a fireplace poker), in order to force them to perform tricks. Read more about the Ringling whistleblower who told PETA about the shocking death of a lion and the abuse of elephants in Ringling’s care.

Since 2000, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Ringling numerous times for serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), such as the following:

Improper handling of dangerous animals

Failure to provide adequate veterinary care to animals, including an elephant with a large swelling on her leg, a camel with bloody wounds, and a camel injured on train tracks
Causing trauma, behavioral stress, physical harm, and unnecessary discomfort to two elephants who sustained injuries when they ran amok during a performance
Endangering tigers who were nearly baked alive in a boxcar because of poor maintenance of their enclosures.
Failure to test elephants for tuberculosis.
Unsanitary feeding practices.

In fact, the USDA currently has open multiple investigations of potential violations of the AWA by Ringling.

At least 26 elephants, including four babies, have died since 1992, including an 8-month-old baby elephant named Riccardo who was destroyed after he fractured his hind legs when he fell from a circus pedestal. Elephants are not the only animals with Ringling to suffer tragic deaths. In 2004, a 2-year-old lion died of apparent heatstroke while the circus train crossed the Mojave Desert.
Ringling Bros. is currently on trial for allegedly abusing elephants with bullhooks and electric prods and for subjecting them to prolonged chaining.
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Meet the elephants

Animals used in circuses, like Ringling Bros., live a dismal life in which they are dominated, confined, and violently trained. Workers routinely beat, shock, and whip them until they perform ridiculous tricks that make no sense to them.

Most elephants used by circuses were captured in the wild. Once removed from their families and natural habitat, their lives consist of little more than chains and intimidation. Some baby elephants are born on breeding farms, where they are torn from their mothers, tied with ropes, and kept in isolation until they learn to fear their trainers. Throughout their lifetime, all they will ever know is severe loneliness and beatings with sharp bullhooks.

During a 2009 investigation into Ringling, PETA documented 11 elephants who range in age from 12 years old to at least 52. These sensitive and intelligent animals have spent an average of 30 years with Ringling, and four elephants have each been in Ringling’s possession for 41 long years of suffering.

Meet just a few of Ringling’s unwilling performers:

Tonka was born in captivity and has been with Ringling since about 1989. PETA captured on video an incident in which the 25-year-old elephant was hooked behind the ear, causing her to scream and bleed, while the elephants were being walked from the arena to the train in Austin, Texas, but her brother, Kenny, suffered a worse fate. In 1998, 3-year-old Kenny, who had been bleeding from his rectum and was clearly very sick, died alone in a stall after being forced to perform despite being sick. As a result, Ringling was charged with violations of the Animal Welfare Act and paid $20,000 to settle out of court.Luna is considered to be especially dangerous. Like Tonka, she and her siblings have also been horribly abused by the circus industry.

Luna’s brother Ned, an emaciated Asian elephant, was confiscated from circus trainer Lance Ramos-Kollmann in 2008 and placed with The Elephant Sanctuary, where he died May 15, 2009. Her brother Benjamin drowned on July 26, 1999, when he was only 4 years old, as he tried to move away from a trainer who was poking him with a bullhook while he was swimming in a pond.

Angelica, 12, has been held captive by Ringling since the day she was born. In 1999, a USDA report stated that there were large lesions on Angelica’s leg, and a Ringling employee said the scars were caused by rope burns, resulting from the violent and terrifying separation process from her mother. In January 2006, the USDA cited Ringling for causing trauma, behavioral stress, physical harm, and unnecessary discomfort to Angelica and another elephant who suffered injuries when they ran amok while performing in Puerto Rico.

Assan, Banana, and Baby were born in Asia, and all three have been with Ringling since about 1968. A humane officer discovered lacerations consistent with bullhook wounds on Assan and Baby during an inspection in California. A former Ringling employee reported that the elderly Banana, who suffers from arthritis, was not being given medication to alleviate the pain.

Help the elephants who are held captive and beaten by Ringling Bros. Take action now!

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Undercover investigation reveals Ringling abuse

In 2009, PETA went undercover at “the saddest show on Earth”—Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus—and captured Ringling workers on video as they beat and whipped elephants dozens of times in venues across the country.

The 11 elephants used in the show—most of whom were captured in the wilds of Asia as early as 1957 and some of whom have spent more than 40 years with the circus—suffer month after month at the hands of Ringling and its crew. PETA documented workers as they struck elephants and tigers on the head, face, ears, trunk, legs, and other parts of their bodies with bullhooks and other abusive handling tools. The unit’s animal superintendant and head elephant trainer were among those who used bullhooks—sharp, fireplace pokerlike devices—to hook and yank elephants by their sensitive skin, as can be seen in PETA’s undercover video.

The abuse extended from Birmingham, Alabama, to Providence, Rhode Island. Ringling’s venues changed, but the beatings did not.

One of the animals Ringing hauls across the country and forces to perform is Tonka, a 25-year-old elephant whom Ringling has used since 1989. From a very young age, she has known only beatings with bullhooks and whips and confinement to cramped spaces, with shackles around her legs.

During an investigation, Tonka was repeatedly captured on video engaging in “stereotypic” behaviors, recognized as a sign of severe psychological distress—including swaying from side to side while simultaneously bobbing her head and swinging her right foot. Despite her condition, Tonka was forced to perform for crowds night after night. PETA’s undercover footage of this suffering is only the latest chapter in Ringling’s long history of abusing animals. PETA has obtained other videos of Ringling workers as they beat animals, and former Ringling employees have even spoken out against the circus’s cruel practices. A verdict is expected as early as summer 2009 in a lawsuit filed against Ringling, alleging that the circus’s use of steel-barbed bullhooks, electric prods, and shackles on the elephants it forces to perform violates federal law.

PETA has filed a formal complaint with the USDA, but officials also need to hear from you. Write to Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack and demand that the agency seize the elephants whom Ringling hauls around the country in filthy boxcars and forces to perform under the constant threat of punishment. If officials act now, Tonka and her peers might be spared future beatings.

These elephants should be sent to a sanctuary, where they would be able to roam across hundreds of acres of natural habitat, play in ponds, and socialize with their longtime friends—all of which elephants are deprived of in circuses.

And please remember, if you attend a Ringling circus or any circuses that use animals, you are supporting this suffering. Please, stay away from circuses that use animals.

For more information, go to PETA.orgUndercover investigation reveals Ringling abuse

In 2009, PETA went undercover at “the saddest show on Earth”—Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus—and captured Ringling workers on video as they beat and whipped elephants dozens of times in venues across the country.

The 11 elephants used in the show—most of whom were captured in the wilds of Asia as early as 1957 and some of whom have spent more than 40 years with the circus—suffer month after month at the hands of Ringling and its crew. PETA documented workers as they struck elephants and tigers on the head, face, ears, trunk, legs, and other parts of their bodies with bullhooks and other abusive handling tools. The unit’s animal superintendant and head elephant trainer were among those who used bullhooks—sharp, fireplace pokerlike devices—to hook and yank elephants by their sensitive skin, as can be seen in our undercover video.

The abuse extended from Birmingham, Alabama, to Providence, Rhode Island?Ringling’s venues changed, but the beatings did not.

One of the animals Ringing hauls across the country and forces to perform is Tonka, a 25-year-old elephant whom Ringling has used since 1989. From a very young age, she has known only beatings with bullhooks and whips and confinement to cramped spaces, with shackles around her legs.

During our investigation, Tonka was repeatedly captured on video engaging in “stereotypic” behaviors, recognized as a sign of severe psychological distress—including swaying from side to side while simultaneously bobbing her head and swinging her right foot. Despite her condition, Tonka was forced to perform for crowds night after night.

PETA’s undercover footage of this suffering is only the latest chapter in Ringling’s long history of abusing animals. PETA has obtained other videos of Ringling workers as they beat animals, and former Ringling employees have even spoken out against the circus’s cruel practices. A verdict is expected as early as summer 2009 in a lawsuit filed against Ringling, alleging that the circus’s use of steel-barbed bullhooks, electric prods, and shackles on the elephants it forces to perform violates federal law.

PETA has filed a formal complaint with the USDA, but officials also need to hear from you. Write to Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack and demand that the agency seize the elephants whom Ringling hauls around the country in filthy boxcars and forces to perform under the constant threat of punishment. If officials act now, Tonka and her peers might be spared future beatings. These elephants should be sent to a sanctuary, where they would be able to roam across hundreds of acres of natural habitat, play in ponds, and socialize with their longtime friends—all of which elephants are deprived of in circuses.

And please remember, if you attend a Ringling circus?or any circuses that use animals?you are supporting this suffering. Please, stay away from circuses that use animals.

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Olivia Munn Combats Circus Cruelty

From hosting G4′s Attack of the Show! to appearing in summer blockbusters Date Night and Iron Man 2, Olivia Munn is entertaining audiences all over the globe. Olivia also has a soft spot for animals and was shocked to learn that elephants used in circuses are torn from their mothers at birth and bound and electro-shocked as babies in order to break their spirits. They spend the rest of their lives performing silly, meaningless tricks out of constant fear of physical punishment, including beatings with bullhooks—sharp, metal-tipped implements that resemble fireplace pokers.

Since elephants are not naturally inclined to balance on balls, stand on their heads, or perform tricks, trainers use whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, bullhooks, and other painful tools to force them to perform these physically uncomfortable tasks. Elephants used by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus are beaten, hit, poked, prodded, and jabbed with sharp hooks, sometimes until bloody. When they are not performing, elephants—who walk up to 30 miles a day in their natural environment—spend their time in chains as the circus travels from city to city.

Olivia explains, “When you look at something like the circus and everyone’s laughing and there’s color and there’s music and everything seems so great, but when you go right behind that door and they’re in these crates all day long and then they’re getting shocked and beat just so they can get up and dance around on a ball … it was just so sickening.”

Please join Olivia in helping to stop cruelty under the big top and spread the word about this important issue to everyone you know!
Ask the USDA to remove suffering, lame elephants from Ringling!

A recent inspection of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus by an independent exotic-animal veterinarian in Sacramento revealed that four elephants — Karen, Nicole, Bonnie and Minyak — are suffering from foot ailments, including lameness and stiffness consistent with arthritis, as a result of long-term neglect of foot care. Foot-related conditions and arthritis are the leading cause of euthanasia in captive elephants.

Despite an initial city order limiting the activities of these elephants, Ringling continues to force the animals to perform grueling and physically strenuous tricks, such as standing on their hind legs. These tricks, which are performed under the constant threat of punishment, only aggravate the animals’ conditions. The veterinarian’s inspection confirms previous testimony from a federal trial that Karen and Nicole have been suffering from lameness and serious foot problems for many years.

Please write to Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack and demand that the U.S. Department of Agriculture confiscate the ailing elephants from Ringling.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus comes to Worcester! Please boycott this traveling torture chamber!

editor’s note: For almost 10 years InCity Times has railed against the circus and all the businesses that exploit exotic animals – tigers, lions, elephants, bears.

Anything to make a buck – even if it means ripping these animals out of their natural environment, keeping them caged/enclosed all the time, keeping them in chains on hard cement and then forcing them (with electric prods, bull hooks, fire, whips) to do tricks, for people, most of whom would be repulsed by the “trainers” training techniques (animal cruelty!).

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is the worst offender, but all the mini circuses that come through town, with their tigers etc are horrific. Often times these animals are rented out for a month or two and then when one gig is over, go on to be slaves for another circus – or in a recent case, Southwicks Zoo in Mendon. Southwicks rented Dondi the elephant and she died in the middle of summer (2001), during which time she had to perform her tricks in the summer heat. We have reported on this tragedy and (along with IFAW) want to see the vet/health report on Dondi’s Death. Southwicks has refused to make Dondi’s records available to the news media/publilc.

In Western Europe, Bolivia, even in good ol’ Revere, Mass., exotic animal acts are banned (meaning no circuses that use these animals are allowed in the town/city) because people do not want to have majestic animals like the lion and elephant degraded and tortured. Other circuses like the cool Cirque de Soleil, circuses which don’t used wild animals, are welcome in these places. And people love them! Continue reading Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus comes to Worcester! Please boycott this traveling torture chamber!

Democrats out of touch?

By Christopher Horton

There’s an old saying which fits the moment: “Words butter no parsnips.”

During the Special Senate Election this past January I went door to door asking my neighbors to vote for Martha Coakley – the same neighbors I had asked in December for their vote for Mike Capuano, and in October for their vote for our new Mayor, Joe O’Brien. I took my time and really listened to what they were saying, and by January the ones who hadn’t gotten sick of me were getting used to talking to me. By the morning of Jan. 19, I knew that Coakley would carry my precinct – she did, barely – but would lose the election, because so many Democrats and former Democrats were planning to vote for Scott Brown. Continue reading Democrats out of touch?