Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Three Former Circus Employees Join Federal Lawsuit Against Ringling Brothers And Barnum & Bailey Circus Under The Endangered Species Act

Once again, this suit “…alleges that Ringling Bros. mistreats and abuses the Asian elephants it uses in shows all across the country.”

An excellent move.

For more on the cruel truth behind the cruelty of the circus see


Elephants Beaten with Bull Hooks in the Name of Entertainment
Posted by: Liz in Animal Rights, Peace

Former Ringling Brothers Employees Bolster Federal Lawsuit Against Circus

Washington, D.C. (Aug. 29, 2007) – The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and others seek permission for three former circus employees to join in their federal lawsuit against Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus under the Endangered Species Act. The suit alleges that Ringling Bros. mistreats and abuses the Asian elephants it uses in shows all across the country.

Former Ringling Bros. employees Archele Hundley, Margaret Tom and Robert Tom Jr. witnessed elephant cruelty before leaving the circus last summer. Their observations reaffirm evidence previously described by existing plaintiff and former Ringling Bros. employee Tom Rider, which includes the routine striking of elephants with bull hooks, and chaining of the animals for long periods of time.

Hundley, who quit the circus because she found the mistreatment of the animals too upsetting, recalled an incident where notorious animal trainer, Sacha Houcke used a bull hook in an attempt to force an elephant named Baby to lie down.

After smacking her with the bull hook repeatedly with no success, Houcke inserted the bull hook into Baby’s ear canal, and while holding the bull hook’s handle with both hands, he pulled down on Baby’s ear with all of his weight, causing her to bleed profusely and squeal in pain.

In describing an episode that happened earlier this year when an elephant named Asia defecated on one of the dancers during her routine, Margaret Tom stated that she “witnessed two guys beat Asia the minute she left the stage, hitting her at least 10 times with bull hooks, making her scream.”

Margaret Tom’s husband, Robert Tom Jr., reported that elephants are hit with bull hooks daily. He described an elephant who bled from the back and screamed in pain from a beating that lasted approximately 30 minutes. The trainer exerted so much energy that “he would periodically sit in a chair to take a break, then return to the elephant and start hooking again.”

“These witnesses reinforce what we know Ringling Bros. is anxious to hide,” said Tracy Silverman, General Counsel for AWI. “We are pleased that these former employees have come forward to reveal what goes on behind the scenes of the big tent, and we are eager to present this evidence in court.”

The Washington, D.C. law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal is representing AWI and its co-plaintiffs, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Fund for Animals, the Animal Protection Institute and another former Ringling employee, Tom Rider.

Trial is expected to commence sometime next year.

Contact: Tracy Silverman, Esq.: (703) 836-4300/

The Animal Welfare Institute has worked for over 56 years to reduce the unnecessary pain and suffering inflicted on animals by humans.

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