• by: Maria Pera
  • recipient: Ringling Bros. owner Irvin Feld

Animals used in circuses go through many acts of cruelty where they are shocked, whipped, tied down and beaten. There is no compassion between elephant and trainer in Ringling brothers circus. Some of the endangered asian elephants used are taken from their natural habitat in the wild, and are forced to do unnatural tricks. Others are bred in Ringling's breeding facility where they are born and raised with abuse.
A 34-year-old elephant in the circus has front legs that turn out, she has swollen lumps on her legs, arthritis, bone bruising and when she walks, it's painful.
One of the elephants was screaming and bleeding from a hook behind her ear when she and other elephants were being trained. A four-year-old elephant drowned when trying to swim away from a trainer that was prodding him with a bullhook, a sharp weapon used to pierce the skin of elephants. At least 30 elephants have died, 4 of which were babies, in the confinement of the Ringling Brothers circus since 1992.
It's not only the elephants, but also the horses, tigers and camels. They're beaten, punched, jabbed, electrically shocked, and forced to perform through injuries and disease. Among all the evidence and witnesses to the torture, nothing is changing for the animals in the circus.

Not only must the circus animals not be abused, they should be set free, not tortured and used for entertainment. Just because the animals can't speak for themselves doesn't mean they should be taken advantage of. Animals can feel; elephants, tigers, horses, they all feel the pain, sadness and loss that are unnatural to occur so often in their lives. They need to be allowed to live freely. Human circus performers should be enough. Ringling Brothers needs to take after Cirque del Soleil, which doesn't use any animal acts. The abuse must end now.

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