Prior to Ringling’s arrival in Washington, we
asked you to urge D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray to ensure that the Department of
Health (DOH) meaningfully inspected the elephants with Ringling. Thanks in part
to your impassioned pleas, the DOH monitored Ringling’s elephant walk on
Tuesday night. During the walk, a DOH specialist observed that Siam—a 34-year-old elephant forced to perform for
the circus—was limping and
had a large lump on one of her legs. Despite this, Ringling is still forcing
Siam to perform, as confirmed just this morning by a compassionate person who
saw her struggling to keep up with the other elephants during the circus’s
opening show!
Video footage shows Siam, who experts have said should be
removed from the road because of her painful condition, limping during the performance.

Elephant experts who
have had the opportunity to observe Siam during past performances have reported
that she is “experiencing unnecessary suffering” and is afflicted
with the agonizing symptoms of neglect and osteoarthritis, “which is
causing debilitating musculoskeletal disease and constant pain.
” Yet
instead of retiring Siam from a strenuous life on the road, Ringling continues
to aggressively prod her with sharp, metal-tipped bullhooks. According to a
veterinarian who has decades of experience with captive elephants, the prodding
causes Siam to react “immediately
and as if in pain each time.”

However, Washington animal protection laws expressly
prohibit cruelly driving or working any animal “when unfit for labor,”
inflicting “unnecessary cruelty upon” any animal, and overdriving or overworking
an animal. Siam, along with the other
elephants languishing on Ringling’s watch, is clearly not receiving the care
that she needs, and her condition could become fatal if she doesn’t get proper medical attention.
Siam’s
chronic ailments have been an impediment to her health and welfare for far too
long. Ten months ago, an elephant biologist expressed concern regarding Siam’s
difficulties in keeping up with the other elephants during a performance—a concern
that has been echoed multiple times by additional experts since then.

In
light of the DOH’s alarming observations that highlight Siam’s continued
anguish—along with the fact that Ringling required her to perform cruel and
painful tricks this morning even though she was suffering from the painful
symptoms of osteoarthritis—please speak up for Siam now! Call on the Washington
Humane Society to fulfill its responsibility to enforce D.C.’s prohibitions on
cruelty and then urge the mayor’s office to pull Ringling’s permit should the
circus continue to force Siam to perform.

Public input is extremely important to officials—it
influences them when they are determining their course of action. Feel free to
use the sample letter below, but remember that personalizing your message will
help ensure that it is read. If you are a resident of Washington, please be
sure to mention that in your communications.
It is more important than ever
to condemn Ringling’s long history of abuse, so please forward this information to your friends and family members.
Thank you for your compassion!

Send
polite comments to:

The Honorable Vincent Gray
Mayor
of the District of Columbia
1350 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Ste. 316 
Washington, DC 20004 
202-727-6300
202-724-8815 (text telephone)
Vincent.gray@dc.gov

Zita Macinanti
Director of Humane Law Enforcement
Washington Humane Society  
7315 Georgia Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20012
202-723-5730, ext. 135
zmacinanti@washhumane.org

Suggested
letter:
I am horrified that D.C. appears to be abdicating its
responsibility to ensure that animals used by Ringling Bros. and Barnum
Bailey Circus are not subjected to cruelty while in the city. I am writing to
ask that immediate action be taken to
ensure that Siam, a limping, arthritic elephant who was forced to perform in
this morning’s show, is relieved from further performances
.

On Wednesday, March 14,
a Department of Health program specialist stated that she had observed Ringling’s
elephant walk the night before. She noted that Siama 34-year-old elephant—was
limping and had a large lump on one of her legs. And on the morning of
Thursday, March 15, a circusgoer confirmed that Siam was forced to perform
during Ringling’s opening performance in D.C. even though she was clearly
limping.

Elephant experts who
have observed Siam during performances over the past year report that she is “experiencing
unnecessary suffering” and that she is afflicted with the agonizing
symptoms of neglect and osteoarthritis, which “is causing debilitating musculoskeletal
disease and constant pain.” Yet instead of retiring Siam from a strenuous
life on the road, Ringling continues to prod her with sharp, metal-tipped
bullhooks. According to a veterinarian who has decades of experience with
captive elephants, the prodding causes Siam to react “immediately
and as if in pain each time.”

Such actions violate D.C.’s anti-cruelty laws, which
prohibit cruelly driving or working any animal who is “unfit for labor”
(D.C. Code § 22-1002) as well as inflicting “unnecessary cruelty upon”
any animal (D.C. Code § 22-1001 (a) (1)). Forcing
suffering animals like Siam to perform further violates Ringling’s D.C. permit,
which requires adherence to all D.C.
laws pertaining to animal husbandry.

I accordingly implore the Washington Humane Society to
obtain a warrant without further delay, to take enforcement action against Ringling
for its violations, and to exercise its authority to confiscate Siam. In
addition, in
light of Ringling’s blatant violation of D.C. anti-cruelty laws, I urge Mayor
Gray’s office to pull the circus’s permit immediately.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this urgent issue.
May I please hear from you right away that you will see to it that Washington’s
animal protection laws are fully enforced?

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Article source: PETA Action Alerts

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