Circus / Zoo News
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circus / zoo news represent articles which  help in ending elephants suffering through exposing the needless use of fellow animals for our entertainment.

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The dangerous job of Elephant Keeping: March 12, 2002 BBC


  1. Law set to ban circus tricks by wild animals (Britain) - Nov 3, 2002
  2. Long memories, short lives - Oct 23, 2002
  3. Elephant killed handler after he ignored the warnings (March 19, 2002)
  4. The SHOCKING truth about elephant training at Blackpool Zoo
    (Dec. 8, 1999)
  5. Second Ringling Bros. Baby Elephant Dies Sudden, Mysterious Death
    (July 27,1999)
  6. Runaway Elephant Takes Over Publicity Stunt
  7. Animal Tracking: The Hidden Trade In Zoo Animals
  8. UK Circus trainer found guilty for horrible neglect and beatings
  9. Sears Ends Ringling Brothers Sponsorship
  10. Former Circus Crewman Takes on Ringling Brothers' Corporation --          Alleging Beatings as Routine Fare for Circus Elephants
  11. Activist greet circus with proposal to ban it
  12. Tuberculosis in Cirus Elephants (pdf document)

Take a look at what the elephant experts have to say about circuses

ElephantElephant killed handler after he ignored warning
(March 19,2002)

As always with elephants used for entertainment purposes the potential exists for these gentle beings to lash out against the people keeping them captive. Often they are abused and trained in a manner that creates psychotic individuals who become "timebombs" waiting to explode.

In this case an elephant crushed a zoo keeper to death after he tried to move her away from a gate in her enclosure at Chester Zoo.

Tragically, the four-tonne Asian elephant named Kumara struck Richard Hughes with her trunk and then butted him as he was forced against a wall. He died in hosptial nine days later.

The reason given for the attack was the elephant suffered from a painful foot condition. In my opinion this is the proximate cause for the accident, but is not the only intervening factor that led to this situation.

As always happens in these cases, the elephant was killed immediately after the incident.

Click here to see the full story at The Guardian

ElephantThe SHOCKING truth about elephant training at Blackpool Zoo
(December 8, 1999)

Press Release

The Captive Animals Protection Society today accuses Blackpool Zoo of causing immeasurable suffering to Katie and Crumple their elephants. ELECTRIC SHOCK DEVICES HAVE BEEN USED TO TRAIN THE ELEPHANTS. CAPS today releases the findings of a 15 month undercover investigation in to the training methods used by Scott Riddle, an American elephant trainer who has been involved in training the Blackpool elephants. Scott Riddle has been linked to deaths of a number of elephants in the US. One elephant at LA zoo was rammed with a tractor and later euthanised due to his injuries. Scott Riddle came to Blackpool Zoo in September 1998 to present an elephant-handling course, which was attended by elephant keepers from zoos and safari parks across the UK. A CAPS undercover investigator attended the seminar and filmed the elephants being walked out of their enclosure. He filmed Blackpool zoo elephant keepers carrying electric goads ­ one was approx. 4ft long and had two prongs at the end. In the USA these are often referred to as hotshots.

Zoo manager Iain Valentine has denied that the goads had been used on the elephants and lied to MP Joan Humble in a letter that stated that under guidelines, using electric goads on elephants was not permitted. In fact, after CAPS demanded the truth from the local authority, Blackpool Council's Director of Community Services admitted to CAPS that electric goads were used on the elephants. Scott Riddle is at Blackpool Zoo NOW 'caring' for 2 circus elephants recently homed at the zoo when their circus in Germany went bust.

Diane Westwood CAPS Executive Director says, " We are appalled that the two elephants at Blackpool Zoo have been treated in this way. Elephants are extremely sensitive intelligent animals and this is torture. We fear for the future of the two circus elephants recently acquired by Blackpool zoo. To use electric shock devices to train elephants to perform circus type tricks is disgraceful behaviour. The long-term damage caused by this treatment appears not to have been considered. We demand a public enquiry and the end to this barbaric training regime" Dr Bill Jordan, veterinary advisor to CAPS says, "Amnesty International believes the cruelest method to torture people is with electricity ­ the same is true for animals".

To see a photograph of an elephant performing tricks at Blackpool Zoo see of electric goads and photographs of performing elephants at Blackpool zoo are available. To see the Sad Eyes & Empty Lives Video on-line then please go to our special page on the video.

For background info contact Diane Westwood VN on 01384 456682

For more information about CAPS please go to their web site at


Second Ringling Bros. Baby Elephant Dies Sudden, Mysterious Death
(July 27,1999)

A young endangered Asian elephant, Benjamin, died on a stopover en route from Houston to Dallas, becoming the latest casualty in a string of sudden deaths among Ringling Bros.' performing animals. Benjamin's body was taken to the veterinary school at Texas A&M University where a necropsy will be performed. In a letter to Mr. Kenneth Feld, chair and CEO of Feld Entertainment, PETA urges the company to end animal slavery and abuse.

"These animals are not volunteers. They have been deprived of their devoted mothers and their precious freedom for a few cheap tricks," says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. "It's time to kill off the animal circus, not the animals."

No Source Provided

Runaway Elephant Takes Over Publicity Stunt
(May 29,1999)

MADRID — A publicity stunt by an amusement park company went awry Wednesday when a two-ton zoo elephant broke free from its trainer and rampaged through central Madrid during the morning rush hour.

The runaway elephant brought cars to a halt, sent pedestrians scattering in panic and knocked down two traffic signals before being felled by tranquilizer darts at the end of its 500-yard dash down a busy Madrid street. Clarissa, a 12-year-old elephant, was brought into the city to promote the stock market debut of Parques Reunidos, which manages Madrid's zoo plus amusement parks around the country.

No Source Provided -- Reuters

Animal Tracking
(February 7,1999)

America's zoos have a little secret: They actually breed animals with no real intention of keeping them. Every year, animals are sold or given away to dealers by dozens of the country's major zoos contributing to a multi-billion dollar exotic species market. These animals are shipped into an environment in which they can be resold, forced into further breeding for greater profits, auctioned off to the highest bidder or advertised to the public in speciality magazines.

Some of these "surplus" zoo animals, which also includes threatened or endangered species, actually end up as backyard pets at a growing number of unaccredited roadside zoos or in the private collections of celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Kirstie Alley.

And, some are even shot as trophies on fenced hunting ranches. Others are killed for their meat, pelts and hides. Due to the valuation of our fellow animals by the general public, it is found that often in this case the lions and tigers are worth more dead than alive. Sadly, buying rare monkeys can be as easy in some states as acquiring pure-bred dogs.

Craig Hoover, a former special agent with the US Fish and Wildlife Service who is now a program manager with TRAFFIC (a wildlife monitoring arm of the WWF) was quoted in Animal Tracking by Linda Goldston as saying,

     ``Zoos have been very successful breeding grounds for many species. . . (and) it's definitely a draw to always have babies on display. But, what do you do with those animals when they're not babies anymore? Certainly the open market is the best place to sell them."

This article does a great job in revealing the hidden side of Zoos we do not have access too. I highly recommend going to the source and reading it as it will open your eyes to a market that most of us have little knowledge of. This article also includes fairly detailed documentation of transactions.

No Source available


UK Circus trainer ruled with 'iron fist'
(January 24,1999)

An undercover animal rights activist described how one of the world's most famous circus trainers known as Mary Chipperfield, ruled her farm with an "iron fist". The 61-year-old trainer and her husband, Roger Cawley, 64, currently face cruelty charges relating to their care for the animals at their winter training quarters near Andover, Hampshire.

BBC´s real video of the story with shocking video evidence

The were caught by secretly taped caring individuals from the Animal Defenders Group carrying out a barrage of neglect and sickening violence against the animals. Mary Chipperfield was shown beating a baby chimp, whacking a camel with a walking a stick and making a sick elephant perform pirouettes.

Amazingly, they had the audacity to claim that the beatings did no harm and they would do it again! On January 27,1998 Mary was convicted of 12 counts of inflicting unnecessary suffering and her husband Roger Cawley was found guilty of                                cruelty to a sick elephant, which he was caught on camera whipping the elephant around a circus ring to "see how sick she was".

The video also showed the couple's employee, Stephen Gills, beating an elephant called Tembo with a spade and an iron bar. And, there were also scenes showing Mary Chipperfield beating an 18-month-old chimpanzee called Trudy with a riding crop. For several minutes, the chimp sadly screamed in distress as she tried to coax it into its cage. In another shot, Mrs. Chipperfield was seen to kick the chimpanzee.

Dr. Jane Goodall gave evidence on the third day of the animal cruelty trial at Andover magistrates' court, after seeing video footage of the chimp apparently being beaten and forced into its cramped cage where it allegedly spent 14 hours a day.

Charles Gabb, the prosecuting lawyer, said the chimpanzee was also left alone to sleep in a dog box in a dark barn with no toys, while elephants at the farm were never bathed or taken outside.

Sadly,  the charges only carry a maximum of six months in prison or a £5,000 fine. This is a slap on the hand for the amount of suffering and cruelty they have inflicted.

Click to go to the source at BBC News


Sears Ends Ringling Brothers Sponsorship
(January 14,1999)

Sears, Roebuck, and Co. has pulled its sponsorship of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus after a disastrous year of animal-related incidents and a barrage of complaints from PETA members. The retailer's decision comes on the heels of the death of Kenny, a baby elephant forced to perform in Jacksonville, Fla., while seriously ill (the elephant died the same day), the shooting of a caged Bengal tiger by a Ringling employee, and safety concerns, including a life-threatening tiger attack on a Ringling employee in Chicago.

|| Source No Longer Available |

Former Circus Crewman Takes on Ringling Brothers' Corporation -- Alleging Beatings as Routine Fare for Circus
(December 21,1998)

This article documents some on hand observations from a former employee of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. He describes the fate of many of the elephants in the circus and talks about the regular beatings. It is a continuing sad chronicle on the use of the largest land mammal for our entertainment and selfishness. One part of the article which really rings home is the fact that he was quoted to have said "When they hit one of the baby elephants, all of the adult elephants get frantic." Please take the time and read this article.

Click to go to the article at  PAWS


Animal activists greet circus with proposal to ban it
(October 10,1998)

With three circus animals dead, a settlement reached with animal-welfare regulators and growing awareness about the sad lives these animals have, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus is getting loud protests. Many people are starting to understand the abuse many of the show´s animals who are used to perform degrading tricks, and the threat of disease to the public and boycotting circuses.

The director of the Detroit Zoological Institute Ron Kagan is circulating a  proposal to ban live animal acts in metro Detroit. As this will mean less suffering to both elephants and many other animals we salute his work.

Interestingly, Hollywood, Florida is believed to the only US city to ban animal shows.

The proposal call for an end to the "constant travel, daily and prolonged chaining and rigorous physical training" of elephants

Kagan was quoted in the article to have said, "We also believe that animals should not be used in demeaning or degrading ways, such as the case when animals are forced to perform. We are part of nature, and reducing an animal to a caricature only perpetuates distorted views and attitudes about animals....

He said, "Finally, there is the serious issue of public safety with regard to elephants. Numerous injuries and deaths (both to people and elephants) have occurred when they are forced to perform."

Click to go to the article at  Detroit Free Press


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