About a hundred demonstrators showed up in bitter cold to protest outside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center because Ringling Bros. circus was performing there. The protesters demand the end of wild and exotic animals, including elephants, in circuses and beg New York City officials to follow in the footsteps of Los Angeles which has reportedly banned bullhooks as of 2017.
The animal rights protesters, from a wide variety of groups, made the following allegations.
1. The elephants are hit as a form of control
2. They are cruelly broken to get them to submit to the tasks demanded of them
3. They are kept in what are, for elephants, tiny quarters as they are moved from performance to performance
4. The elephants are unnecessary and outdated as many circuses now use no animals.
I emailed Feld Entertainment and Ringling Bros and have not gotten a response. Company reps are invited on JaneUnChained.com. We would like to get their side of the story.
Feld Entertainment Defends the Use of Bullhooks as USDA-approved husbandry tools
“We’re not going to come to L.A. without our elephants,” said Stephen Payne, vice president of corporate communications for Feld Entertainment, the parent company for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. “The Asian elephant has been a symbol of Ringling Bros. for 144 years. We cannot bring them without using USDA-approved husbandry tools.” (LA Times, April 2014)
Animal rights activists argue that bullhooks are cruel and abusive. Circus producers have countered that such tools are needed to exhibit the animals safely and that banning them means banning the circus entirely. (LA Times, April 2014)