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Prime Action Alert: Speak Out for Elephants!

Posted by at 5:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (11)


Prime Action Alert: Speak Out for Elephants! by Guest BloggerThe first animal rights video that I ever viewed showed an elephant in a circus who seemed to snap during a performance. First, she went for the trainer (read: the man who beat her every day). Then, she ran out of the auditorium and into the street before rifles were leveled at her and she was slowly shot to death, collapsing onto a police car and slumping to the ground as sirens sounded. I cried my eyes out and had no idea what to do. I was just a kid then—it was late at night, and I think that someone had shown the footage on public access. But there was no next step at the end of the video, just a feeling of tremendous sadness and rage.

Although watching that video now— or viewing similar materials such as the recent baby-elephant photos taken by a former Ringling elephant trainer— is still upsetting, I now have an action step. I find that there’s nothing more cathartic than getting out and telling people the truth about what’s happening to animals who are abused in the name of “entertainment.”

As more people learn that the elephants and tigers used in circuses are not performing for treats but are instead beaten in order to force them to do physically challenging and confusing tricks, a growing number of cities— including Pasadena, California, and my own hometown Boulder, Colorado— have restricted or banned the use of animals in entertainment. Through public advocacy (such as billboards and print ads), work with celebrities, undercover investigations, and most importantly, one-on-one outreach at demonstrations, we are slowly winning hearts and minds. And we are seeing Ringling cut cities from its tours.

If we reach people with information about cruelty to animals, they change their behavior. Knowing this led me to what I do today: organizing PETA campaigns for animals. And I would like to use this space to encourage folks in the San Francisco Bay Area to come and do your part for elephants and other animals who suffer in chains and boxcars. Please join us in Oakland, California, on Wednesday, August 11, at 6 p.m. outside the Oracle Arena and help us speak out for the animals under the big top. We’re going to let Ringling know that we’re watching and that the circus is not going to get away with its horrible treatment of animals.

Even if protests aren’t usually your thing, I think that if you join us, you may be heartened by interacting with people and seeing firsthand that most people don’t think it’s right to capture still-nursing 18- to 24-month-old baby elephants rodeo-style, rope them around all four legs, tether them neck-to-neck to an anchor elephant, and drag them away from their mothers. Most people don’t think that an animal’s every movement, every instinct, and every natural behavior should be subject to discipline. Most people will agree with you when you explain that elephants in the wild live for 70 years on average and that although most elephants at Ringling die well before that age, even 20, 30, or 40 years is a long time to be hauled across the country for 50 weeks out of every year through all weather extremes without free access to basic necessities such as food, water, and veterinary care.

The bottom line is that the public overall agrees that animals deserve to be animals, and people don’t like it when they find out that the circus deprives elephants, tigers, and other animals of their basic need to exercise, roam, socialize, forage, play, and raise a family. When you suggest that people walk behind the arena to look at the animals for themselves before or after a show to see stereotypic behaviors that indicate mental distress, such as swaying back and forth, head-bobbing, pacing, bar-biting, or even self-mutilation, people often will. And they come back shocked. Of course, if protesters don’t show up, ticket-holders will walk in and out of the show in ignorance, and the next generation of circus fans may unwittingly be born as the kids follow in tow.

So please, come and hold a sign provided by us, chant, pass out leaflets or coloring books, wear our elephant costume, or volunteer to wear one of PETA’s body-screen TVs to show people footage from PETA’s undercover investigations.  Above all, tell your friends and family members (and bring them!), and help us speak up for animals. We can win this one with awareness!

Lindsay Rajt (pronounced “right”) manages PETA’s Campaigns Department. If ever you see someone picketing alongside Pamela Anderson, wearing a seal costume, or protesting the meat industry while naked, wrapped in cellophane, and covered in fake blood, that is probably someone from Lindsay’s team.

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11 Comments

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    greeneyes says...

    August 6th, 2010, 11:04 am

    These so called animal trainers who claim to love animals, I would guess, must be seriously twisted. Who could do the things THEY do in order to force these creatures into submitting to their will in order to learn a trick they obviously do not want to do. I don’t know who disgusts me more, the people who pay to see these tortured animals ‘perform’ or the animal ‘trainers’.

    Vicky Slay says...

    August 6th, 2010, 2:55 pm

    There is nothing sweeter than a baby elephant and the relationship they have with their mother. I am appauled at the treatment of these beautiful beings. There needs to be a stop to this and trainers should be punished. I was at a zoo once where the elephant exhibit was and the man there kept hitting the elephant just because he moved his legs. My husband ran for the door and the crowd cleared and I proceeded to yell at the man and how brave he was with the elephant being chained and all. It was the Cleveland Zoo in Ohio and I should have taken it further by writing them. I was not involved nor realized the treatment of these animals until that day.

    Dianne Douglas says...

    August 6th, 2010, 4:29 pm

    Animals are here for a reason. I truly believe that animals are here for us, and that we’re here for them. They should be respected and recognized for the hefty spiritual burdens they carry without ever asking for anything in return.

    Every life has a purpose. All animals are individuals and they have feelings and thoughts and they suffer the pain and the joy that we do. They are entitled and they deserve an opportunity to live.

    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi The circus falls short in moral progress

    Janna Adamo says...

    August 6th, 2010, 4:47 pm

    Please do not deprive these precious elephants from their natural habitat. It is how God created them.

    JANICE BURGI says...

    August 6th, 2010, 5:28 pm

    “HE WHO LIVES BY THE SWORD WILL DIE BY THE SWORD”!!
    I TELL THE PEOPLE WHO DOES THIS HORRIFIC ABUSE ON BABY ELEPHANTS, WILL DO THIE SAME THING ON HUMANS!!!!!
    GOD IS DEFINATELY WATCHING YOU!!!

    Nancy says...

    August 6th, 2010, 5:40 pm

    Hey Nanc, Go and protest. Deb

    Roberta bown says...

    August 7th, 2010, 2:27 am

    If I lived near where you are meeting I would of course be with you to support this worthly cause – this breaks my heart can’t understant why they want to put these wonderful creatures under so much pain & stress surely they know by now by looking after our animals that have a right to be here on earth as much as us – will remember how we have treated them Elephants especially never forget & the reasons animals attact their trainer in this why is because their trainer has been cruel – reading your memory of seeing an Elephant running of – sooo sad but he was desperate to get away & took his chances & I would have don’t the same – these people if you could call them people are not animal lovers or even animal cares they don’t have or feel humanity – I can’t say what they are I’m much to polite to call them what they ahould be called – all so sad <3

    Charly-ann Marlor says...

    August 7th, 2010, 6:12 am

    Pathetic.absaloutley pathetic.If you can actually stand torturing animals then something is seriously wrong with you.But what I don’t understand is that they are actually allowed to do this.it disgusts me. If someone say gave a kid a bruise on purpose the social workers would be in, which is right.But people can starve,beat,torture animals and hardly ever does anything big happen.

    Lillian Ingria says...

    August 9th, 2010, 4:24 pm

    There should be laws to protect animals; and for those that break these laws, the punishments should match the cruelty and abuse they inflict.

    Shame on the circus and the sick individuals that carry out the pain they cause helpless animals.

    The circus should be forbidden and become a nightmare of the past.

    Tricia Hamilton says...

    August 24th, 2010, 1:29 pm

    You should be ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES!! How could you hurt or hit or bullhook an innocent animal. Who is paying you to do this? Is OUR tax dollars donating to your organization. Believe me, I know what goes around comes around.

    Elena Jurgela says...

    June 19th, 2012, 3:13 pm

    You are pathetic, savage monsters. How could you even think of hurting an animal who has done nothing to you. You should certainly be ashamed of yourselves, and ask the Lord to forgive you and help you repair your life. Outlaw and ban your practices today.

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