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article imagePETA again going after Ringling Brothers Circus for animal abuse

By Joan Firstenberg     Apr 12, 2010 in Entertainment
Circus elephants being pulled and prodded with metal hooks, lions and tigers being beaten. This is what PETA says is regularly going on behind the Ringling Brothers Circus. They will attempt again today to stop it.
PETA is going back to the federal government today to ask them to shut down the the Ringling Brothers Circus, because of their alleged torture and killing of show elephants and their cover-ups about these incidents. The New York Daily News reports that PETA officials are hoping that the Obama administration will now be more open to their requests.
The YouTube video above is by dmoonme and is an undercover look at the abuse and killing of Ringling Brothers elephants.
In today's letter, PETA is asking the Department of Agriculture to revoke or block the April 28 renewal of the animal exhibitor license issued to Feld Entertainment, Ringling Brother's owners. PETA president Ingrid Newkirk says it's outrageous that nothing is being done about this.
"Abusive and violent treatment of animals ... is part and parcel of Ringling's traveling circus, which requires powerful animals, many of whom were once wild, to learn and perform tricks that are alien to their nature."
But the track record hasn't been good for PETA's efforts. The circus has repeatedly denied it is being abusive and last December, a lawsuit brought against the circus by a former trainer there was dismissed by a judge who decided that the trainer had no standing to sue his former employer, the circus.
PETA's director of captive animal rescue, Debbie Leahy, calls the abuse "chronic and systemic" and says this time they're armed with proof.
"This is the first time we've taken all the evidence and put it together to show that this is not just one bad trainer, having one bad day, with one bad elephant."
PETA says it comes equipped this time to show the government 700 documents, videos and pictures that will allege a history of abuse at the circus ranging from "breaking" baby elephants with painful electric prods and sharp metal hooks to whipping a tiger until it collapsed and lost control of its bowels.
Jeff Kerr, general counsel for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says this is a very sad situation.
"The only way you can get a several-ton elephant to stand on his head is from fear of pain."
The practices of the so-called "Circus of Horrors" resulted last week, with a circus elephant named Dumbo stomping its handler to death in Pennsylvania.
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