Tag Archives: bears in road-side zoos

Parents: Read this before planning your summer vacation!☀☀☀☀

By Jennifer O’Connor

Summer is here, and every single day, countless moms and dads make decisions that can actually cause their children to get hurt — or worse. I’m not talking about letting them ride skateboards without kneepads or play ball in the street. I’m talking about the risks involved every time a family visits a petting farm, takes an elephant ride or stops at a roadside zoo.

A trip to a petting zoo can result in a trip to the emergency room. Whether they are set up in a mall parking lot or on the midway of a county fair, petting zoos are hotbeds of E. coli bacteria, and numerous children have been infected after visiting such displays. Symptoms can include bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and fever. It can even be fatal.

In 2015, a toddler died after falling ill with hemolytic uremic syndrome just days after visiting a petting zoo at a Maine fair. This little boy wasn’t the first child to die from an illness acquired at these events, and countless others have suffered from serious health problems, including kidney failure.

Children and adults alike have contracted E. coli after petting animals or simply touching the areas around an exhibition. The bacteria have been found on railings and bleachers and even in sawdust. Yet parents still encourage their little ones to pet the animals.

Roadside zoos aren’t any better. They are little more than backyard menageries or dilapidated facilities where animals are typically kept in barren cages constructed from chain-link or wire fencing. Many enclosures look as if they haven’t been upgraded in decades.

Some of these zoos even dupe visitors into believing that they rescue animals by calling themselves “sanctuaries.” But no legitimate sanctuary offers elephant rides or photo ops with tiger or bear cubs, as many roadside and traveling zoos do.

Two visitors to an Indiana roadside zoo, including a young girl, were bitten by tiger cubs in at least two separate incidents during public interactions. A 4-year-old Florida girl sustained severe cuts to her head, and her ear was partially severed by a cougar at a children’s birthday party. And 14 students were bitten by a 3-month-old bear cub in a petting zoo at Washington University in St. Louis.

Profit-hungry exhibitors might be able to deceive parents into believing that interactions with little cubs are safe, but it’s genuinely baffling that parents would think it’s OK to allow their children to ride on top of the world’s largest land animal — the elephant.

When a captive elephant goes rogue — and they often do — chaos ensues. At least 15 children were injured when an elephant being used for rides at a Shrine circus in Indiana was startled, then stumbled and knocked over the scaffolding stairway leading to the ride. While carrying children on her back at a state fair, an elephant with the R.W. Commerford & Sons petting zoo panicked, throwing a 3-year-old girl to the ground.

At a Shrine circus in Missouri, three elephants escaped from their handlers near the children’s rides and were on the loose for about 45 minutes.

With so many other fun summer activities to choose from, why put your family (and animals) at risk? National Parks are treasures within reach. Interactive virtual reality displays at natural history museums appeal to a generation that grew up with technology. IMAX theater documentaries can open up a whole new world to the viewer. We can’t protect our children from all of life’s dangers, but when it comes to deciding on family outings, the kinder choices are also the safer ones.

Helping abused animals – always in style!

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In the arena basement, to be chained up – again.

Ringling’s demise closes a chapter in the campaign to help animals

By CircusesHurtAnimals.com (formerly Daniel Carron)

After a grueling trip in cramped, fetid boxcars, the elephants had been unchained and unloaded near a noisy coal pier and were being marched almost 5 miles through the city to the arena in which Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus would be performing.

Asha kept falling behind, but the trainer didn’t care. Throughout the entire march, he yanked on her ear with a bullhook — a heavy, steel-tipped weapon that circus trainers use to “break” elephants’ spirits — and kept saying, “Asha, keep up! Asha, keep up!” All I wanted to do was tell her that she could stop, that she didn’t have to suffer like that.

When I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about Asha being led into the arena basement to be chained up again. That was her life: the train and the basement. I had to do something else besides protesting.

So I changed my name.

“CircusesHurtAnimals.com” is what tellers see on my checks and cashiers see on my credit card. It’s the name on my driver’s license, and besides spelling out my contempt for circuses that exploit animals, it almost always opens the door to conversations about the beatings and whippings that they inflict on animals to coerce them into performing.

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All of us at PETA will continue to speak out against Ringling until May 21, when it finally shuts down following its shows in Uniondale, New York. After that, we’ll keep pressing the case that circuses hurt animals.

Why? Because when Ringling took elephants off the road last year, it found another way to exploit them.

Instead of being transferred to reputable sanctuaries where they could roam and socialize, the elephants were hauled to Ringling’s Florida breeding and training compound, where they spend as long as 23 painful hours a day chained to concrete floors, are threatened with bullhooks, and continue to be used — only now it’s for medical tests.

We’ll keep speaking up, because Asha was sent to a zoo in Oklahoma and because Ringling is still abusing other animals.

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When tigers aren’t being paraded around a ring under threat of a whip, they’re kept in cages so small that they can barely take a single step in any direction, so they do everything — eat, drink, sleep, defecate — all in one place.

Inactivity is wrecking their health: Most are overweight and some are obese, which puts them at risk of arthritis, liver and kidney failure, and heart disease.

I’ll never forget the moment when I found out that Ringling was closing. I was cashing out and talking with a bartender about my name when I got a text from a friend that said, “You can change your name back now.” I literally shouted, “Ringling is closing!” It was all I could say. We went to another bar and celebrated with shots.

We’ll probably take champagne to Uniondale, and while I’m excited about it, I don’t have that “Our work here is done” feeling. Ringling has a history of exploiting animals, and there’s no reason to think that it will suddenly stop. We have to get the elephants and tigers and all the other animals into reputable sanctuaries.

But there’s little doubt that other animal-exploiting circuses will fall, because the biggest domino has come down— in fact, UniverSoul and Garden Bros. are already feeling the pressure.

PETA isn’t against all circuses — just the ones that use animals.

Last year, when we were protesting Ringling in Norfolk, Virginia, a family came up and looked at our posters, and the little daughter started crying. Someone gave her a stuffed elephant that we’d brought along, and that made her happy. Kids instinctively love animals, and when she found out what was happening to the animals and told her family that she didn’t want to go to the circus after all, it reminded us that people really are listening.

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The bears need our help, too!!😢😢😢😢