PETA is calling on Indianapolis and federal officials to bar Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from forcing lame elephants Mable and Assan to perform this weekend. Recent footage shows the two elephants being forced to do tricks even though they appear to be in pain. PETA gave the footage to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Indianapolis Animal Care & Control and asked both to investigate and intervene.
PETA is especially concerned about Assan, who has been showing signs of severe arthritis for years, because the circus continues to use her in performances. Even Ringling’s own veterinarian recently admitted that Assan has circulatory issues caused by the circus’s transport conditions. And earlier this year, an elephant expert found that both animals had cracked toenails, which can be debilitating.
Ringling hauls elephants around the country for up to 50 weeks a year—confined to tiny boxcars, chained on hard surfaces, and forced to stand amid their own waste. These harsh conditions are known to cause arthritis and painful, chronic foot problems, both of which are often a death sentence for elephants.