Dear InCity Times readers,
In July 2009, PETA released the findings of an undercover investigation of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus that spanned several months and took place in more than a dozen U.S. states. Our investigator documented routine abuse of elephants and tigers at the hands of Ringling workers, including an animal superintendent and a head elephant trainer.
One of the implements that Ringling employees routinely use is a bullhook—a heavy, hard-handled device with a sharp, steel hook at one end that trainers use to beat elephants on the head, the ears, the trunk, and other sensitive areas. The use of bullhooks is standard in the circus industry, and its use on elephants results in pain, suffering, and trauma, including lacerations, puncture wounds, and abscesses. While an elephant’s skin appears tough, it is actually so sensitive that the animals can feel a fly land and the pain of an insect bite. Trainers typically embed the hooks into the elephants’ skin and soft-tissue areas.
Massachusetts Senator Robert Hedlund is sponsoring S. 1870, which seeks to prohibit the use of bullhooks, chains, and other cruel devices on elephants. If passed, this piece of legislation will eliminate the very type of abuse documented in PETA’s investigation.
Please take a few moments now to ask your state senator and representative to support S. 1870.
The incidents of abuse that PETA recorded were captured backstage right before elephants entered the arena to perform, and the footage shows that the elephants were repeatedly struck without warning. There is no doubt that unless bullhooks are prohibited in Massachusetts, elephants will be abused in the same manner by any circus that visits the state.
Please use your voice as a Massachusetts resident and constituent to speak up for elephants suffering in circuses.
Thank you for your compassion for animals.