Tag Archives: animal cruelty

Ringling is coming to town this weekend. Tigers jumping through fire-laced hoops …

… elephants Chained inside filthy, poorly ventilated train boxcars, usually for an ENTIRE DAY and then some! –  26 consecutive HOURS!

You know how InCity Times feels about Ringling! We sense you feel the same way: This wild animal concentration camp on wheels  MUST END NOW!!!! PLEASE boycott this circus and all traveling shows that use wild animals!!!!!


Learn More About Ringling Bros. Cruelty! Click on blue text for even more information!

– R. Tirella

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.

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

At least 30 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.

To learn more about Ringling’s lengthy history of abusing animals and deceiving the public, read PETA’s Ringling Bros. factsheet (PDF).

Why Pope Francis’ visit brings one Catholic animal rights advocate hope

Lilac on the road, with Rosalie and Jett, 9/28. Pope Francis urges humans everywhere to respect the sacred in all fauna and flora …

By Christina Matthies
By the time you read this, millions of Catholics (and indeed, people of all faiths) will have seen Pope Francis during his historic first-ever visit to the United States. The Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will have just passed. And the city of brotherly love will be preparing for an infusion of loving kindness when His Holiness the Dalai Lama visits in October.
Three very different traditions and yet at their core, the message is the same: To honor the holiness inherent in ourselves, we should strive always to choose empathy over self-interest, compassion over cruelty and being of service over being served. And as we learn more about the other animals who share the Earth with us—that they, too, communicate with one another and build complex relationships, mourn their dead, and can suffer from pain, fear and grief—we must not overlook our treatment of them as we try, again and again, to live up to these ideals.
As a Catholic, I hold tightly to my faith in God and know that He has watched over me and my family in our toughest moments, and as an animal rights advocate, I know He watches over all of us. So I was heartened when Pope Francis declared in his encyclical on caring for the environment, “Every act of cruelty towards any creature is ‘contrary to human dignity.'” I hope kind people will be inspired by his message and realize that we can care about and help both humans and other species at the same time. We don’t have to choose one over the other.  
Although I express my faith through Catholicism, it is far from unique in asking us to extend our empathy to all beings. All the world’s great religions teach love and compassion for animals and even require those who are sincere in their faith to act with compassion in their dealings with animals.
The Buddhist text the Dhammapada teaches, “All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love life. See yourself in others.. Then whom can you hurt?” According to the Prophet Muhammad, “A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being.” The Jewish Tanakh (what Christians call the Old Testament) reminds us that “a human being has no superiority over an animal” (Ecclesiastes 3:19).
So why do we continue to tear animals away from their families and homes and confine them to small cages or tanks for our archaic notions of entertainment? Why do we burn and blind them in cruel experiments even though astonishing non-animal research methods such as organs-on-chips supersede animal use? Why do we abuse and kill them for food and skins when vegan options are plentiful? 
For animals, these are not merely rhetorical questions. Our answers have very real consequences for the orcas, elephants, pigs, chickens, rabbits, foxes, mice and so many others whom we exploit for our own ends. Mother pigs are smarter than our canine companions and love their precious babies as dearly as I love my two children. Rats giggle when they are tickled and will risk their own lives to save other rats. Crocodiles surf ocean waves for fun. Intelligent, complex orcas have their own language and customs that they pass on to their young. Fish live in complex social groups, develop cultural traditions, cooperate with one another and can even use tools. Their lives are as dear to them as ours are to us. The choices we make—about what to eat, what to wear, what to do for entertainment—matter.
If we say that we believe in love and compassion, that we believe the most fundamental teachings of the world’s great religions, then we must practice what we preach by avoiding choices that hurt animals. The message of kindness applies to all.

Fashion shouldn’t really be ‘to die for’

Editor’s note: I’ve made some sentences bold.   – R.T.

By Paula Moore

It seems ridiculous to have to point this out, but animals are not just fashion accessories. Yet so often, that seems to be how they are viewed by the industries that make money off their fur or skins.

Rabbits on angora farms in China scream and writhe in pain as workers tear the fur right out of their skin.

Sheep used for wool are left battered and bloody as workers in shearing sheds punch and kick them and cut off wide strips of flesh, causing gaping wounds.

And cows are often skinned alive for leather, kicking and crying out in terror, because slaughter lines move so fast.

It’s tempting to blame such cruelty on consumers’ apparently insatiable demand for “fast fashion,” which forces suppliers to produce the greatest volume of fur and skins in the cheapest way possible.

But as a new PETA eyewitness investigation reveals, even on the other end of the fashion spectrum—the so-called “luxury” market, in which handbags sell for tens of thousands of dollars each—animals are treated as nothing more than commodities, forced to live in filth and senselessly killed.

PETA investigators in Texas and Zimbabwe documented the appalling conditions in which animals are raised and killed for “luxury” bags, belts and watchbands.

In Winnie, Texas, there’s an alligator factory that sends skins to a tannery owned by Hermès, which makes the famous Birkin bags. PETA’s investigator found alligators there kept in fetid water and dank, dark sheds without sunshine, fresh air or even basic medical care. At just a year old, they’re killed and their skins are sent to France and made into “luxury” items such as watchbands.

As PETA’s investigator documented, sometimes the slaughter process was badly botched. Workers  repeatedly shot alligators in the head with a captive-bolt gun and stabbed conscious alligators to try to dislocate their vertebrae—even though a manager had admitted that “reptiles will continue to live” through that.

Some animals were still conscious, kicking and flailing, even minutes after workers tried to kill them.

After they were cut into, the alligators were briefly bled and then dropped into a bin of ice water. But because some alligators had survived the attempts to slaughter them, they may have instead drowned or died of hypothermia in these bins.

In Zimbabwe, at the facility of one of the world’s largest exporters of Nile crocodile skins, tens of thousands of crocodiles are confined to concrete pits from birth to slaughter. They are never given the opportunity to engage in natural behavior, such as digging tunnels, protecting their young or searching for food as they would do in the wild.

They are stunned and then killed by having their necks cut, a wire rammed down their spines and their brains scrambled with a metal rod.

If left alone, not killed for fashion, Nile crocodiles can live to be up to 80 years old. But at this facility, they are slaughtered when they’re only about 3. That’s when their belly skins are the optimal size to be used for handbags.

It takes two to three crocodiles to make just one bag.

Most of us will never buy a $50,000 Birkin bag or even a $2,000 watch. But whenever we choose any fashions made of skins, fur or wool, animals are the ones who pay the price. The only way to ensure that we’re not buying into cruelty is to leave all animal skins out of our wardrobes and choose animal-friendly vegan fashions instead.

Six reasons why big cats don’t belong in circuses!

We’ve poured our hearts into the elephants-don’t-belong-in-circuses crusade. Progress!

NOW IT’S TIME TO SAVE THE BIG CATS WHO SUFFER in Ringling and other traveling shows. LIONS, TIGERS, PANTHERS, COUGARS … all of these MAGNIFICENT AND MAJESTIC wild cats have captivated humankind’s imagination for millennia. Because they are so big, so beautiful, so exotic. All the more reason to let them BE FREE IN THE WILD, WHERE THEY BELONG.     – Rosalie Tirella


Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus made headlines when it announced that it was phasing out its cruel and dangerous elephant acts by 2018. However, many circuses, including Ringling, continue to exploit and abuse big cats, and, for those animals, there is no end in sight yet.

Here are six reasons why big cats do NOT belong in circuses:

1. In circuses, big cats are often forced to live intiny, cramped cages.

Caged Tigers in Caravan

Circuses routinely cart animals from town to town in barren cages that deprive lions and tigers of opportunities to fulfill their basic needs to exercise, roam, socialize, forage, and play. Many big cats are forced to eat, drink, sleep, defecate, and urinate in the same place. The only relief that many are given from this nearly perpetual confinement is during their brief performances, when they are subjected to whippings and roaring crowds. As a result of captivity, many big cats are overweight, while others suffer psychologically. The stressful, unnatural environment can cause some to pace back and forth or even mutilate themselves.

2. Their maternal bond is broken.

Tiger in Cage

In the wild, young tigers grow up with their mothers, but animals used in circuses are often separated long before they would naturally part, causing emotional distress for both mothers and cubs.

3. Their basic social and physiological needs are denied.

Tigers are naturally semi-nocturnal and love the water. In circuses, they’re carted around and forced to perform in the daytime and denied access to any kind of watering hole.

Adult tigers are solitary animals, but circuses ignore this fact and make them live in unnatural and often incompatible groups, sometimes resulting in fights and injuries.

CLICK HERE to read more!

Worcester’s DCU center and animal cruelty

January 29, 2015


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

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

Awesome Christmas news!!! … Now if only Worcester would do the right thing!

Worcester can use these cities’ ordinances as blueprints for a Worcester Bullhook Ban! … Working to ban bullhooks in Worcester would make a great project for some classes in the Worcester Public Schools! 

What You Can Do

Contact us [PETA] for materials for launching a campaign to get bullhooks banned in your area.

From PETA.ORG …  – R.T.

It’s Indisputable: Bullhooks are on the way out

Written by Jennifer O’Connor

Update: Just days after Oakland passed a law to prohibit bullhooks, Austin’s City Council voted unanimously to have its legal counsel draft a bullhook ban. The ordinance is expected to be ready and voted on in the spring. Austin is poised to join other progressive cities, including Los Angeles and Miami Beach, Florida, in saying no to bullhooks. The day is quickly coming when circuses such as Ringling Bros. will no longer be able to hit and hurt elephants with these barbaric weapons.

Originally published on December 9, 2014:

The Oakland, California, City Council has voted to ban bullhooks! An emergency appeal from Emmy Award winner and elephant advocate Lily Tomlin, along with the support from hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, former Oakland Raiders player David Carter, and AFI lead singer Davey Havok, helped to make it happen. It was a nail-biter that came down to the 11th hour, but PETA’s relentless push and Tomlin’s letter to City Council President Rebecca Kaplan urging her to condemn this cruel weapon resulted in a five to two winning vote.

“From one compassionate person to another, I urge you to see through the smoke screens and realize that at the heart of the issue is morality and compassion for another species,” wrote Tomlin.

Baby Elephant Training Photo With Circled Bullhook

Bullhooks—heavy batons with a sharp metal hook on one end—are used to beat and jab elephants. Make no mistake about it: Bullhooks are weapons.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which has performed annually in Oakland, unashamedly defends the use of these devices. …

Read more: http://www.peta.org/blog/oakland-bans-bullhooks/#ixzz3LshuoHCV

New look!

Please let me know what you think! … Email me at incitytimes@hotmail.com (We are tweaking this website  as I type …)

– Rosalie (Rose), editor, ICT (paper and website)

Here’s an ICT Animal Times op-ed for ya. (I’ve pretty much gone vegan this past year – feels good not to be responsible for the killing of an animal …) :

Knee-deep manure: Another reason to dump dairy

By Paula Moore

 If you’re reading this as you eat your morning cereal, now would be a good time to set down your spoon. PETA recently obtained video footage of lame and emaciated cows—one little more than a skeleton—trudging through a sludgy pool of their own liquefied manure at a North Carolina dairy farm. The farm’s waste pit had not been emptied for so long that excess waste was up to the animals’ knees. As the cows emerge from this cesspool on their way to the milking parlor, the manure hardens and dries on their legs and feet, resulting in sores and painful ulcers. It even splashes onto their udders just moments before they are milked.

 Still hungry? The disgusting conditions that PETA found on this farm are enough to turn anyone’s stomach—and prompt a switch to soy milk—but they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to dairy-industry cruelty.

 During a previous investigation, PETA revealed that cows on a dairy farm in New York were jabbed and struck, even in the udder, with poles and canes. One farm manager repeatedly electro-shocked a cow on the face and jabbed another cow, who was unable to stand up, in the ribs with a screwdriver and used a skid steer to drag her 25 feet. Young calves bellowed and thrashed as workers burned their horn buds—without providing any pain relief—in order to stop their horns from growing.

 You’d never know that nearly all cows born on dairy farms have tissue that will develop into horns if given the chance. That’s because workers press searing-hot irons into the top of calves’ heads to destroy horn tissue or use sharp instruments or other tools to saw off, gouge out or cut out the horn and sometimes the surrounding tissue. Cows struggle desperately and cry out in pain during these procedures, which are routinely performed without giving them any anesthetics or painkillers.

 And many consumers don’t even know (probably because they’ve never really thought about it) that cows produce milk for the same reason why human mothers do: to feed their babies. On dairy farms, cows are repeatedly impregnated and then forced to watch helplessly as their babies—whom they carry for nine months, just like us—are torn away from them again and again.

 Mother cows, who are smart, inquisitive animals and whose maternal instinct is just as strong as our human one is, grieve the loss of their calves and bellow plaintively after them for days. Some mother cows have been known to escape their enclosures and walk for miles searching for their calves. Such pitiful scenes are common in the dairy industry. Mother cows are allowed to bond with and care for their babies for just a few hours before they are dragged away so that humans can consume the milk that was meant for them.

 And what happens to the calves? Many male calves are shoved into tiny veal crates (so if you drink milk, you’re also supporting the cruel veal industry), while most female calves are destined for the same fate as their mothers: repeated artificial insemination and pregnancies until their bodies give out at 4 or 5 years of age. Then they’re trucked to the slaughterhouse, far short of their 25-year natural life expectancy, and ground up for burgers and dog food.

 If you find such cruelty hard to swallow, maybe it’s time to think twice before buying another carton of milk or tub of yogurt. Dairy-free (and cruelty-free) options such as almond milk and soy milk; vegan cheese and sour cream; coconut-milk coffee creamer; and ice cream made out of rice, soy or coconut are available in almost any grocery store. Why not try them?

We’re ecstatic! Plymouth Town Representatives have voted to ban the use of wild animals in circuses!

Victory! In Massachusetts, Plymouth Town Representatives have voted to ban the use of wild animals in circuses! ADI worked closely with local supporter Kati Carloni, who successfully used our evidence to lobby for change. http://bit.ly/1lGnyEn

Check out InCity Times’ no-exotic-animals-in-the-circus FACEBOOK PAGE! Click on the copy, beneath the elephant on THE RIGHT of this post, TO LEARN MORE!

HOORAY!!!!!!      – R. T.

End of the road for animal acts

By Jennifer O’Connor

The trend is undeniable: The days of hauling animals around and hurting them in the name of entertainment are quickly coming to an end. Winnipeg is the latest municipality to slam the door shut on circuses using exotic animals. Mayor Sam Katz and the Winnipeg City Council made it clear that they will no longer tolerate circus cruelty.

All around the world, cities and entire countries are banning exotic-animal circus acts. Austria, Bolivia, Colombia, Greece, Paraguay and Peru have done so already, and others, including Britain and Scotland, are on the verge of doing so. Besides outright bans, many cities are saying no to the tools that circuses use to inflict pain, such as the bullhook—a heavy baton with a sharp metal hook on the end that can rip and tear elephants’ skin—and electric prods. Since circuses control animals with these cruel devices—or more accurately, attempt to control them, since so many have run amok—such prohibitions effectively keep the animals out.

Only a decade or so ago, the fabulous Cirque du Soleil was one of the few alternative circuses around. But the demand for cruelty-free entertainment has skyrocketed, and now there are more than a dozen vibrant, innovative productions touring North America that don’t exploit animals. Even consummate huckster P.T. Barnum couldn’t convince today’s informed public that beating animals and keeping them in cages and chains from birth to death is acceptable.

The empirical evidence of what life is like for animals in circuses is undeniable and readily available to the public. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, for example, paid a record $270,000 to settle multiple violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. At least 30 elephants have died while in Ringling’s hands since 1992.

Former employees of Ringling have come forward to report egregious abuses, including forcibly removing baby elephants from their frantic mothers, tying them down by all four legs, and slamming them to the ground, surrounded by “trainers” wielding bullhooks and electric hotshots.

An undercover investigator videotaped a Carson & Barnes elephant trainer who was viciously attacking elephants with a bullhook and shocking them with electric prods. The elephants screamed in agony while recoiling from the assaults. The trainer can be heard instructing his students to sink the weapons into the elephants’ flesh and twist them until the elephants scream in pain.

Despite being ordered to pay a $7,500 penalty to settle nearly three dozen charges of violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, the Liebel Family Circus continues to drag around an elephant named Nosey, even though she is suffering from a chronic skin condition. The Piccadilly Circus was given an official warning by federal authorities about its animal-handling practices. The Kelly Miller Circus has been cited for denying adequate veterinary care to an elephant with a painful, oozing puncture wound on her ear, among other abuses.

The facts are simple and stark: Animals in circuses suffer tremendously. Every parent or grandparent who buys a ticket is contributing directly to the animals’ misery. Every child who exits a show believing that hurting animals is “fun” leaves a bit of his or her heart behind. Our elected officials should enact additional laws that put a stop to an outmoded form of “entertainment” that has no place in a civilized society.



Dolphins in tanks: cruel confinement

editor’s note: In light of yesterday’s news (whale drowns trainer), I thought it would be good to run this piece on dolphins.

By Jennifer O’Connor

Scientists at Emory University recently determined that the cognitive capacity of dolphins is second only to that of humans and that the brain cortex of dolphins has the same complicated folds associated with human intelligence. A prominent ethicist believes that dolphins should be given the same moral standing as humans. We know that dolphins have distinct personalities, can recognize themselves in mirrors and can think about the future.

Yet dolphins are still captured from the wild to be put on display in aquariums, held captive in theme parks and used in “swim-with” programs. This must stop.

In their rightful ocean home, dolphins inhabit vast, fascinating and complex worlds. They establish close, cooperative and long-standing relationships. They live in large, intricate social groups, swim together in family pods and can cover up to 100 miles a day. Dolphins communicate with each other through whistles and body language, and when they are injured or dying, other dolphins will come to their aid, supporting them at the water’s surface so that they can breathe. However, in tanks, their worlds are reduced to gallons instead of fathoms. Continue reading Dolphins in tanks: cruel confinement