Feld Entertainment the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus recently paid the settlement ever an exhibitor in the history of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) for a multitude of AWA violations, including forcing sick animals to perform and failing to provide animals with proper veterinary care. Ringling’s long history of AWA violations includes physically abusing animals, causing physical harm to animals, and transporting animals in dangerous railcars and other vehicles whose jagged edges and broken metal wound them. Undercover video footage shows Ringling handlers using bullhooks to strike elephants backstage before performances in order to remind them “who’s boss.” Despite its abysmal track record, Ringling is currently requesting a permit that would allow the circus to continue harming endangered Asian elephants and leopards.
Ringling claims that the elephants and leopards will be used for “conservation education,” but the company has failed to demonstrate that it will do anything other than cruelly display these animals for commercial entertainment. The purpose of transporting animals up to 50 weeks a year while keeping them chained for up to 100 consecutive hours in cramped, narrow boxcars as Ringling does is not to enhance the species, but to force them to perform in the company’s profitable circus. Experts agree that forcing endangered animals to perform in circuses negatively impacts conservation efforts.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has the authority to deny this misleading permit request, and the agency wants to hear from you. Public input will be accepted until the end of the day on February 16. This input is extremely important to officials—it influences them when they are determining their course of action. These elephants and leopards need you to speak up for them now! Please join PETA by personalizing the comments below and urging the FWS to deny Ringling’s misleading application to continue using—and abusing—Asian elephants and leopards. The more you are able to personalize the comments, the more impact they will have.