Ringling Bros has been cited over 100 times by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for repeatedly violating minimum standards of the Animal Welfare Act.
Their offenses include failure to provide veterinary care, safe and secure enclosures, sufficient space, adequate exercise, and proper feeding and sanitation. These violations pose a risk to both the public and to the animals’ lives.
Ringling Bros is on trial for allegations of abuses to their Asian elephants, in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act.
Former circus employees have testified that the elephants are so tightly chained by one front and one hind leg they cannot even turn around,
and chaining is a practice used on circus elephants virtually 96% of their lives.
In the wild, animals spend most of their lives foraging for food and raising young rather than spinning on giant balls or jumping through flames.
To perform these tricks, circus animals are repeatedly and brutally trained using electric prods, spiked metal hooks and whips.
“The idea that it is funny to see wild animals coerced into acting like clumsy humans, or thrilling to see powerful beasts reduced to cringing cowards by a whipcracking trainer is primitive and medieval. It stems from the old idea that we are superior to other species and have the right to hold dominion over them.”
—Dr. Desmond Morris, anthropologist, animal behaviorist, author