While I was driving home from San Antonio, my friends and group that I volunteer with (Pikes Peak Animal Rights Team) was doing a peaceful demonstration in front of the Ringling Brothers Circus. For those of you who aren’t aware of the heinous abuse that happens behind the scenes, I hope that this opens your eyes.
On the morning of Saturday, June 10 a whistleblower witnessed an elephant being hit 6 times with the full force of a bullhook or electric prod out of ignorance and stupidity, hate and fear (take your pick). This elephant was chained by 2 of his/her legs and had moved to miss one of the blows, but was still unable to miss all of them. The Ringling Brothers Circus had been fined $270,000 USD from the US Department of Agriculture for a similar incident last year. The Circus performs at the World Arena in Colorado Springs, and while my friends were passing out copies of an article that was written up about a similar beating last year, it happened again. Sickening, is only one of the words that we have used. PPART was able to pass out all of the coloring books raising awareness to kids and getting 40 people to watch a pay-per-view (we pay them $1) of Behind the Scenes: The Saddest Show on Earth, raising awareness to adults.
There are things that we all can do as a community, taking prompts form other localities. In Los Angeles they are celebrating Elephant Awareness Day August 3, 2012. In 1998 the Thai government designated March 13 as National Elephant Day. Fulton County (Georgia) has banned bullhooks like other counties in Florida, South Carolina, New York, Kentucky, and Indiana; and Dane County, Wisconsin banned elephants performing all together on June 7th of this year with a vote of 23 to 9. Peru has banned all animal performing zoos. Stamford, CT; Hollywood, FL; Boulder, CO; and Pasadena, CA have all banned all animal acts, including rodeos. How did all of this happen? It’s people like me and you, being moved into action. Writing our representatives, becoming vocal and making our voices heard.
Here are some facts:
From 1994 to 2005, there have been at the very least 31 elephants that have died of premature deaths in the circuses with other animals, such as lions and horses who have died untimely; with 24 elephants dying at the hands of Ringling Brothers since 1992.
Researchers have warned that African elephants will face extinction as early as 2020 if anti-poaching measures are not strengthened.
National Elephant Appreciation Day is September 22.
Ringling Brothers Circus had an annual profit of $150 million USD in 2009 and currently profits have been between 500 million to 1 billion USD.