Circus Canceled as Chinese Stress Animal Welfare

A Chinese circus featuring animal performances was canceled after citizens called for a boycott and tipped off authorities, in what activists billed a victory for a growing animal welfare movement.

The promotional material for the Jinan Animal Carnival Festival suggested the shows would have bears lying on their backs twirling flaming rods, tigers riding horses and a monkey riding a goat.

Chinese regulations ban animal performances, but animal rights activists estimate hundreds of shows still take place each year. They say animals are kept in poor conditions and trained under fear and stress to perform tricks. Read full story here.

Inspector: Circus World elephant had ‘thin body’ : Wsj

BARABOO — An animal rights group is calling on Circus World Museum to re-examine its use of performance elephants after a federal inspector found an animal at the facility had “thin body condition.”

But a veterinarian says the animal is not sick. She says Nina, a 50-year-old circus elephant, always has had a slender body composition.

During an unannounced visit to Baraboo in August, a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector noticed that Nina’s “hip bones and shoulder blades were visible,” documents show.

The animal’s handler told the inspector that a veterinarian examined Nina in April. The handler said the elephant was receiving appropriate care.

However, Carson and Barnes was unable to produce medical records or put the inspector in touch with the veterinarian. Because handlers are required to have such records readily available, the inspector found Carson and Barnes Circus — which contracts with Circus World — to be noncompliant.

A USDA spokeswoman said Friday the federal agency has not been able to determine what caused Nina’s thinness.

“We were not provided access to the medical records, so we are not able to determine that,” USDA spokeswoman Tanya Espinosa said.

The USDA will conduct an unannounced follow-up inspection at a later date and then determine the appropriate course of action, Espinosa said. Read more here:

Inspector: Circus World elephant had ‘thin body’ : Wsj.

What are Animal Rights? Watch the Best Animal Rights Documentaries Free Online

32518This video library features the best animal rights documentaries, short films and videos that can be found on the internet, all cataloged in one place for easy reference. Have you found a good film that should be in this library? 

What are Animal Rights? Watch the Best Animal Rights Documentaries Free Online.

12 Animal Activism Stories That Made Headlines in 2012 « Striking at the Roots

Rescues, bans, and protests—any way you look at it, 2012 was an eventful year for animal activism. As I began reflecting on the last 12 months, I was heartened by just how vocal people were, and how their speaking out for animals helped to create positive changes. Our voices didn’t always result in an all-out victory, but even when they didn’t, we can still claim some success. Rather than rank these stories, I’ve put them in chronological order. Here are 12 for ’12:

12 Animal Activism Stories That Made Headlines in 2012 « Striking at the Roots.

Elephants are dying out in America’s zoos – The Seattle Times

Zoos’ efforts to preserve and propagate elephants have largely failed, both in Seattle and nationally. The infant-mortality rate for elephants in zoos is almost triple the rate in the wild.

As the 1960s dawned, few Americans had ever seen a baby elephant. It had been more than 40 years since an elephant had been born in North America, and then only at a circus — never in a zoo.

But in a ramshackle exhibit yard at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, in the summer of 1960, the extraordinary occurred: A 15,000-pound male, Thonglaw, mated with a much smaller female, Belle, and Belle became pregnant. Zookeepers didn’t know that elephant gestation takes 22 months, though, and they missed the pregnancy altogether. Unaware, they transferred the pachyderm pair to a zoo in Portland, under a sharing agreement.

In April 1962, at the Portland zoo, Belle gave birth to a male named Packy, and an international sensation was ignited. Life magazine devoted an 11-page spread to the birth. The country got caught up in a Packy craze, with toys, clothes and books bearing the cute baby’s image flying off the shelves.

The public seemed to feel a unique connection to elephants, gentle giants who exhibit many humanlike qualities. Elephants live in families, exhibit memory and possess surprising self-awareness, such as recognizing themselves in a mirror. They experience grief and love, pain and fear.

Little Packy was everybody’s baby, and attendance at the Oregon Zoo soared as visitors from all over the world waited in half-mile-long lines to see him. Cash receipts skyrocketed, and so did donations.

It was clear that elephants, the world’s largest land mammals, were indeed “glamour beasts,” box-office stars that would help America’s zoos through the 20th century and into the 21st. Across the country, the race to produce baby elephants was on.

The effort would be good not only for zoos, officials insisted, it would be good for the Asian and African species that were under enormous pressure in their natural habitats. Zoos would help preserve and propagate elephants, they explained.

Fifty years later, The Seattle Times set out to examine how that effort has turned out. Despite the zoo industry’s insistence otherwise, by almost any measure, it has failed.

A gamble goes bad

It took decades, but Seattle finally got its own baby elephant. In 2000, an Asian female named Hansa was born at Woodland Park Zoo, instantly bewitching the public. But 6 ½ years later, when she was found dead on the elephant-barn floor early one morning, zoo officials knew their gamble had failed.

They suspected an elephant herpes virus known as EEHV that had begun ravaging young elephants at a handful of U.S. zoos. The virus, believed to spread by contact, could lie dormant for years, then move so swiftly it could destroy internal organs in hours.

They knew that the virus had infected elephants inside the Springfield, Mo., zoo where they sent Hansa’s mother to be bred. They feared it might find its way back to Seattle but the pluses “outweighed the negatives,” they said, and they took a risk.

Besides, the zoo industry’s governing body, the national Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), had privately approved Seattle’s plan. The AZA was desperate to produce elephants, hoping to reverse or at least slow an alarming decline in the number of the animals in American zoos.

Publicly, the zoo industry was claiming — and continues to claim today — that “elephants are thriving inside zoos.” It’s a message that AZA officials have delivered repeatedly to lawmakers and regulators, trumpeted in news releases, and highlighted in a recent national marketing campaign.

But they know it’s not true. And it never has been. Continue reading:

Elephants are dying out in America’s zoos | Nation & World | The Seattle Times.

L.A. City Council May Ban Elephants in Circuses and Use of Bullhooks

It is only a matter of time before elephant acts are banned forever.

The Los Angeles City Council could soon approve a proposal that would make the use of elephants in such circuses as Barnum & Bailey and Ringling Bros. a thing of the past in the city, if the Council adopts the November 20 recommendation of its Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee.

The proposed measure is contained in a letter dated November 1, 2012, to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, by L.A. Animal Services General Manager Brenda Barnette, providing seven options to regulate the use of elephants in circuses and other traveling circus shows within the City.

The letter states that the Board of Animal Services Commissioners recommended by a unanimous vote of 3-0 that the Mayor and Council consider various options relative to the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling shows and exhibitions. Read full story here:  L.A. City Council May Ban Elephants in Circuses and Use of Bullhooks.

Circus World animals to get more scrutiny


Why wasn’t this news reported when Circus World was open for business and giving elephant rides to children?

See letter from September 2 regarding the potential TB exposure. Illegally imported elephants pose risk at Circus World

It is time to stop the use of elephants as entertainment.

BARABOO — Animals brought in to perform at Circus World Museum will be under more scrutiny than in past years.

The decision comes on the heels of an elephant owner who brought four elephants without an import permit to Circus World this summer.

Dr. Paul McGraw, an assistant state veterinarian with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, said any exotic animal that comes into the state is required to have the permit. The elephants’ owner, Louie J. Delmoral, received a warning in late June.

Then a U.S. Department of Agriculture animal health technician and a DATCP field veterinarian said that one of the elephants was not eligible for travel or public contact in Wisconsin. The same elephant was exposed to another elephant that was suffering from tuberculosis at Carson and Barnes Circus in Oklahoma, according to a DATCP report in July.

It was determined the elephant at CWM be removed from Wisconsin or stay with the other three elephants in Baraboo as long as it didn’t have contact with the public.

Dr. Elisabeth Patton, a veterinarian program manager with DATCP, said there is no evidence that the elephant in Baraboo was sick with tuberculosis.

“Based on the medical testing and the increased level of monitoring given to it, the elephant didn’t pose a threat to the public,” Patton said.

McGraw said Delmoral did not violate any USDA rules.

“We just felt it was prudent for the elephant to stay in Wisconsin until they were ready to move,” he said.

There was no danger to anyone who came in contact with the elephant, McGraw said.

“There’s never been a case where an elephant gave a human tuberculosis,” Delmoral said. “We operate under very strict USDA guidelines.”

Delmoral, who has been training and showing elephants for 30 years, said he would not have been at CWM this past season if he was not in compliance.

“The USDA would not allow it,” he said.

CWM Executive Director Steve Freese said he is working with the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to make sure those who bring animals to perform are in compliance before they are allowed onto the grounds.

“The state doesn’t tell me or show me if the animal owner is in compliance or not,” Freese said.

He said there is no “paper trail” at Circus World where he knows who is in compliance and what animal trainers or owners are not.

“How can I fix anything if they (the state and federal agencies) don’t tell me what is happening?” Freese said.

He said he is working with the USDA and DATCP to learn when they are visiting CWM to check the paperwork of the animal owners.

“Absolutely, we are making certain changes,” he said. “We want this to be a fun and safe environment for people to visit and to work.”

Circus World animals to get more scrutiny.

Julie Grosso: Illegally imported elephants pose risk at Circus World

Dear Editor: A group of performing elephants was imported into Wisconsin by the Carson & Barnes Circus to the Circus World Museum without the required state import permits or the accompanying veterinary certificates of heath, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. One of the illegally imported elephants has tested positive for the tuberculosis antibodies. Tuberculosis is a serious, often life-threatening disease transmitted readily between humans and elephants.

A similar potential TB exposure was narrowly averted earlier this year after a complaint sent to DATCP by the Madison-based Alliance for Animals resulted in a female Asian elephant named Topsey being barred from entering the state after testing positive for tuberculosis antibodies. Topsey was scheduled to give forced elephant rides at the 2012 Bristol Renaissance Faire.

Also this summer, DATCP barred two elephants used by the George Carden Circus from entering the state. As you may know, the Zor Shrine Circus proudly contracts with the George Carden Circus for their elephant acts at the Alliant Energy Center.

Elephants in the circus are a public safety risk. Once again, I thank the Dane County supervisors for making the wise decision to ban elephant performances.

Julie Grosso

Read more:

Julie Grosso: Illegally imported elephants pose risk at Circus World.

Did Elephant Kill Circus Worker? |

As you may recall, in the middle of the Dane County circus debate, the Alliant Energy Center booked the Piccadilly Circus.

Similar to the Zor Shrine Circus, Piccadilly Circus contracts the Franzen Bros. Circus for their exotic animal act. Brian Franzen has a long history of abusing his elephants. In 2009, Brian Franzen was filmed hitting his elephant before the Great Circus Parade in Milwaukee, WI. Video here.

In the past, Circus World also contracted Franzen for his elephant act and forced elephant rides.
Recently, PETA has obtained documentation showing that a Piccadilly Circus worker, who was allegedly killed by an elephant, is the same man who was caught just a week earlier beating Kosti (one of Franzen’s elephants) with a bullhook.

Read the PETA article:

Did Elephant Kill Circus Worker?

Update: PETA has obtained documentation from Animal Care and Control in Fort Wayne, Ind., showing that Casey Dale Walker, the circus worker who was allegedly killed by an elephant, is the same man who was caught just a week earlier beating an elephant with a bullhook.

Originally posted August 21: A whistleblower is alleging that a Franzen Bros. Circus worker was attacked and killed in St. Charles, Illinois, by an elephant late last week, although the death was reported as an accident involving a pipe. The source—who has provided PETA with reliable information before—reported that the worker was moved into his room after the incident in an attempt to cover up the cause of his death. Franzen Bros. had provided Piccadilly Circus with the elephant.
Sweeping Cruelty Under the Big Top

Even though circuses notoriously hide the abuses that they inflict on animals, this would be a different sort of cover-up if it’s true. PETA has called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration to investigate the allegations, urged the St. Charles police to investigate the claims, and asked the Kane County Fairgrounds executive manager to preserve and retain all possibly relevant security video footage.

The exploitation of captive animals by circuses poses a grave danger. The accumulated strain of enduring years of beatings, bullhooks, and shackles causes some elephants to snap—and when elephants rebel against their oppression, lives are put at risk. In more than 35 dangerous incidents since 2000, elephants have bolted from circuses, run amok through streets, crashed into buildings, attacked members of the public, and killed and injured handlers.

The whistleblower’s report comes just a week after PETA received a complaint stating that someone saw a worker on the road with Piccadilly Circus repeatedly and forcefully beating and yelling at an elephant. The USDA is now investigating that episode.
What You Can Do

Please never attend any circus that uses animals and choose animal-friendly entertainment options instead. Also, be ready to take action for animals when the circus arrives in your town.

More info here:

Did Elephant Kill Circus Worker? |