Thursday, August 09, 2007

Three Animal Rights Groups Protest Abusive Treatment of Elephants by the Ringling Brothers And Barnum and Bailey Circus

Good to see the groups still raising awareness to the abuse suffered by elephants in circuses.

For more detailed information on the abuse of elephants in circuses see


Animal Rights Groups To Protest Treatment Of Circus Elephants

SAN DIEGO -- At least three animal rights groups will protest what they call abusive treatment of elephants by the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus Wednesday outside its opening night performance at the San Diego Sports Arena.

"These people treat them like the devil would," Florence Lambert of the Elephant Alliance said. "They've been abused."

Circus officials have long denied allegations of mistreatment, claiming it exceeds all federal animal welfare standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Animal Welfare Act.

Lambert went to the circus' annual walk from the train to the Sports Arena Tuesday, checking on the condition of the elephants, but said she was forced to remain in her car because employees know her as the woman who unmasked them.

"Fourteen years ago, I took a lot of photos that were incriminating. They (circus employees) shout at me," she said.

Lambert said she watched from her car, making sure the elephants were all right, and to see if she could report any violations to Animal Control.

"They (circus employees) were shouting and punching them with the bull hook," Lambert said. "But they weren't using the hooks to break the skin."

Although Lambert was a witness to the walk where she said the animals "looked so sad and just so abused," Animal Control was parked nearby, and she said the trainers were doing nothing illegal.

Other animal advocates will be in attendance tomorrow to protest elephant training practices among other issues.

The San Diego Animal Advocates said they will pass out fliers in English and Spanish on Wednesday, as well as have banners in both languages, the group's Jane Cartmill said.

During the protest, a person dressed inside a flat screen television suit will be displaying videos of what Cartmill calls elephant training.

Circus official Andy Perez said Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey encourages the public to see the elephants and other animals for themselves.

"We don't have bad trainers," he said.

The circus has trainers available 90 minutes before the show. The audience can see trainers and the animals at that time, Perez said. The circus is especially proud of its Asian elephant breeding program, Perez said.

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus operates a 200-acre facility in Florida where the elephants can retire, breed and become a part of a research project to ensure their species' survival, Perez said.

Cartmill said her group will be protesting the circus for false statements of breeding elephants for conservation purposes.

"Captivity equals conservation is absurd," Cartmill said. "They should buy habitat in Asia where the elephants belong. Breeding them in a U.S. environment is not conservation."

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