We're writing in response to your recent story about Ringling Bros. ("Circus comes to town this week," AFN, June 22). We would like to provide you with additional information that explains why these performances are protested at every stop.

Ringling continues to force elephants who suffer from painful arthritis to perform grueling tricks throughout the country. Recent inspections by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and observations by independent veterinary experts have revealed that elephants in Ringling's care show signs of lameness and arthritis, among other serious medical conditions.

Indeed, Ringling's own medical records document lameness in the elephants, and Ringling's senior elephant handler acknowledged that they are arthritic.

In addition, Ringling's veterinarian recently admitted that the elephants are not being administered medication to alleviate the pain associated with these severe medical conditions.

PETA has acquired evidence that documents the circus's unrelenting disregard for animal welfare. Baby elephants with Ringling are prematurely torn away from their mothers, stretched out, slammed to the ground, gouged with bull hooks, and shocked with electric prods - all just to teach them the physically grueling and confusing tricks seen in a circus routine.

A PETA undercover investigation of Ringling resulted in video footage that shows Ringling workers, including an animal superintendent, repeatedly beating elephants moments before performances.

Elephants were struck over and over again without warning in order to intimidate them, remind them "who's boss," and make sure that they knew to do as they were told or else suffer the consequences.

Amanda Schinke

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

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