It’s outrageous that Ringling
Bros. tears babies away from their mothers before they are weaned and keeps
arthritic, lame elephants on the road for years, forcing them to perform
unnatural tricks that exacerbate their pain. Even when things start to look up,
they can’t seem to catch a break. For instance, earlier this week, Fulton
County, Georgia, put Ringling Bros. on notice that the county’s groundbreaking
bullhook ban would be enforced during the circus’ stint in Atlanta. However, a
judge succumbed to pressure from the circus and ordered the county not to
enforce the law
!

In light of this shocking
development, the city of Atlanta is the only entity that currently has the authority
to enforce the law, which prohibits the use of implements that cause pain or
are likely to injure elephants. Yet it is refusing to do so.

Elephants’ skin is so sensitive
that they can feel the pain of an insect bite, and when they are hit with sharp
metal-tipped bullhooks, they know that if they don’t do as they’re told, they
will suffer the consequences. Former Ringling employees have testified to
witnessing brutal beatings backstage when an elephant fumbled a trick. In one
incident, an animal trainer swung a bullhook into the elephant’s ear canal and
pulled down aggressively until the animal
screamed out in pain
. Many elephants bear hideous scars under their chins
and in other hidden places from the jab of that hook. In fighting the county
ban on this cruel device, Ringling has shown only how far it will go to
continue abusing animals. In light of the court order prohibiting the county
from enforcing the law, we must persuade the city of Atlanta to step up and
enforce the ban on using devices that cause pain or are likely to injure
elephants, including bullhooks
.

Because Ringling is already in
Atlanta and has made it clear that it will use bullhooks on these poor
elephants, the city must act NOW to enforce the prohibition. In fact,
some of you have spoken up already to let the city know that it is unacceptable
to pick and choose which laws to enforce, particularly if these decisions are
influenced by corporate greed. We are calling on you again to speak up for
these ailing elephants, who are currently in Atlanta and being forced to
perform cruel, unnatural behaviors—please take a moment now and urge the city
to enforce the cruelty-to-elephants law:

  • Please call
    the office of Mayor Kasim Reed at 404-330-6100 and politely ask for the mayor’s
    immediate assurance that the city
    will enforce the prohibition on devices that cause pain or are likely to injure
    elephants!
  • After you
    make this important call, follow up by sending a brief e-mail to the mayor at mayorreed@atlantaga.gov, politely repeating your request.
    Personalization always helps to ensure that your correspondence is read, but
    feel free to use the letter below as a template. If you are a resident of Atlanta, please be sure to note that in your
    message.

Please also remember to pass this
important, time-sensitive information
to everyone else you know who cares about elephants—or simply
justice. Thank you for your help and support to protect animals!

Suggested
sample letter:

Dear Mayor Reed,

In light of the recent court order, which prohibits Fulton
County from enforcing the cruelty-to-elephants law it adopted last year, it is
crucial that you take immediate action to ensure that Ringling Bros. does not
violate this prohibition, as it has unequivocally said it will.

It is clear that the prohibition against the “use on an
elephant of any device or instrument that inflicts pain on, or causes or is
likely to cause injury to, an elephant,” Fulton County Code § 34-212(c),
is expressly incorporated into the city code by Atlanta Code § 18-62, and
therefore applies in the city of Atlanta. That same city code section
provides that “[a]ny person violating any of the adopted regulations…shall
be guilty of an offense.”

The applicability of Fulton County Code § 34-212(c) is in no
way dependent on the existence of an enforcement agreement with the
county. Does the city truly not have the ability to enforce its own laws?
Surely it does. Indeed, Article 2 of the intergovernmental agreement for
enforcement of animal-control laws that the city entered into with the county
in 2011 specifically provides that if the agreement is not extended, as the
city contends it has not, “the City will be solely responsible for
providing all animal control services within its boundaries….” 

Yet your office is claiming that it lacks the authority to
enforce the cruelty-to-elephants law. It appears that that the city believes
that it can pick and choose which laws to enforce.

There is no question that it is within your power to make
some sense of this nightmare and protect the ailing animals forced to perform
for Ringling from further abuse while in Atlanta. Won’t you do the right thing
and enforce the cruelty-to-elephants law?

Sincerely,

[Your Name]
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Article source: PETA Action Alerts

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