Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ringling Brothers




I had the best time this morning at The Ringling Brother's media day at The Magic Castle. Firstly it was great to hear about the Ringling Brothers show Zing Zang Zoom coming to Staples Centes July 8th- 12th. It sounds like it's going to be an amazing show. They're dissapearing an elephant, teaching children to levitate their parents and turning a man into a tiger. I'm sure the kids would more than pay the price of admission to float their parents. I look forward to seeing it.
The second fun thing was getting into The Magic Castle. What an amazing place. That I'll save for a future post.

Update: Please see comments for Ringling Bros. Statement re animal treatment.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

5 Minutes of Entertainment = Life of Misery

Tigers, horses, zebras, other animals and even a porcupine are forced to live in small cages their entire lives with the circus. They are shipped from city to city at least 11 months out of every year and are never allowed any freedom to be who they are. All the animals are forced to eat and sleep where they urinate and defecate. In the wild, tigers roam a territory of 17-20 square miles and love to be in water; elephants often walk 20+ miles per day. Housing for animals used in circuses is built for the ease of transportation – not the comfort of the animals. All this deprivation and suffering for a few minutes of entertainment.

Please check out www.RinglingAbusesAnimals.com for more information.

** Ringling Emails Reveal: Dripping Blood, Electric Shock, Animal Abuse & Cover Up **

Bloody Elephant
Ringling’s Vet-Tech, Deborah Fahrenbruck states, in a private email to owner Ken Feld, “We had an elephant dripping blood all over the arena floor during the show from being hooked.” Fahrenbruck describes that the elephant had been “hooked” under the trunk three times and behind the leg to “line her up.” Fahrenbruck wrote that there was “blood in small pools dripped along the length of the rubber and all the way inside the barn.” After expressing her concern about this to Ringling Elephant Dept. Head Troy Metzler, Fahrenbruck was banned from the elephant barn. Keep in mind, Ringling is lying to you when they tell you the animals are having “fun.”

*Ringling Hides Animal Abuse*

Fahrenbruck reveals that, in 2004, after San Francisco Bay Area activists released video of a Ringling elephant handler stabbing and jabbing Angelica, a chained 7-year-old elephant, with a bullhook, Fahrenbruck suggested putting up a “tent wall” to hide the abuse from activists’ cameras, proving that Ringling has no problem abusing animals, they just don’t want to be caught.

*Ringling Electric Shocks Elephants*
In a different email Fahrenbruck describes seeing Elephant Dept. Head Troy Metzler repeatedly hitting Angelica, a seven-year-old elephant, and shocking her with an electric prod. Metzler stated to the media that “elephants need to be hit.” Should elephants be hit and shocked for our entertainment?

*Ringling Withholds Water from Elephants*
Emails also reveal that Ringling routinely withholds water from the elephants “to minimize the amount they urinate” and the water available to the animals had feces, soap or bleach in it.

Elise said...

Thank you for your comment. Of course I would never endorse this kind (or any kind) of mistreatment of animals. I will see if I can get someone at Ringling to comment about your concerns. They did mention in the interview that they follow many regulations regarding the animals.
Thanks again for your comment.

Elise said...

I am still waiting on a response from Ringling Brothers. But in my own research I did find that Ringling Brothers does have an Elephant conservancy in Florida. Here's the link http://www.elephantcenter.com/
Which seems like their hearts are in the right place.

Gary - circus fan said...

Our family has made the circus it's hobby since the 1960's. We felt you should know that the words of "anonymous" are regurgitated from the animal "rights" propaganda sites!

We spend a lot of time visiting circuses, Ringling the favorite. Things are not as "anonymous" has been told.

No circus we know of would allow animals to "eat and sleep where they urinate and defecate". Standards of cleanliness are very high as is the level of health care. All the animals get the appropriate amount of excercise, and the very best feeds.

We met Percy the performing porcupine during his training sessions.... Before he was famous! Percy - like many such animals, is a ham! He was trained via positive reinfocement. Any person who believes animals can be trained using fear is living in the dark ages.

There is a difference between animal "rights" and animal "welfare". The Ringling Circus operates a very expensive center for elephant conservation. It makes no logical sense that a circus would abuse it's greatest asset! But then again - animal extremists are not logical nor do they use common sense.

May all your days be circus days!

Gary and family

Elise said...

Dear Elise –

There is a philosophical difference of opinion between animal rights groups and licensed animal exhibitors, like Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. While activists advocate for the separation of humans and animals, no matter how sound the care, we at Ringling Bros. consider all animals to be members of our circus family.

When you visit our show you will see with your own eyes that the animals are healthy and well-cared for by a team of veterinarians and an animal staff that meets their every need in addition to the standards set by authorized local, state and federal inspectors.

If you visit www.elephantcenter.com, the web site for the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation, you will learn about how we care for our Asian elephants, our global efforts to stop their extinction, and what you can do to help. Founded in 1995, the conservation center is a research, reproduction and retirement facility where there have been 22 successful births of Asian elephants including our first male, Barack in January 2009 as a result of artificial insemination.

The bottom line is that while activists make noise, none of the large animal rights organizations have begun to solve the problem of Asian elephants’ bleak future. When people talk to us about the very real chance that Asian elephants will become extinct, we proudly respond “not if we can help it.”

Thank you for your interest in our animals.

Janice Aria
Director, Animal Stewardship Training
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation

Anonymous said...

The best place to find Ringling Bros tickets has always been the site directly. Everyone knows that.

wendytucker said...

I have had the priviledge of visiting the Ringling Blue Unit over a dozen times in the last ten years. It was usually for about a week at a time, and I stayed in a trailer just a few feet from the elephant area. I had an unobstructed view of the elephants literally 24 hours a day.I can assure you that there were no behind-the-scenes beatings such as Tom Rider wants us to believe. If they had to beat the elephants in order to get them to perform, as Rider has testified, how could I have never seen that, when I was behind the scenes before every show while I was there? I didn't see it because it didn't happen. PeTA routinely puts together spliced videos; some of the clips in them are 20 years old! Of course there are bad handlers out there, just like there are bad doctors, lawyers and financial advisors, but that doesn't make them all bad! They even included Gunther Gebel Williams in their videos, who I'm sure anyone who knows anything about exotic animals, will agree that he was the greatest animal trainer to have ever lived. PeTA actually sent a 'spy' to record the elephant area on the show from a hilltop to try to get material for their videos, and after over 75 hours of vigilent filming, all they got was a clip of a handler giving a whack to the front of the trunk of an elephant with the handle of his bullhook, the equivelent of a slap on the hand for a child.
Our world of today simply cannot accomodate all animals running free like in biblical times, and if there were not breeding facilities such as Ringling's Center for Elephant Conservation, it would not be very long before elephants disappear from the face of the earth. The elephants performing in the shows are helping to generate revenue to support their own existance, kind of like us when we have to go out and work for a living. But the ones who don't enjoy performing, do not go out on the road. Ringling Bros. employ specialists in the field who understand elephants and can make that determination. While no one can read an elephant's mind, the ones on the shows do actually seem to enjoy their life; the elephants are attached to each other and form a 'family' and are also attached to their primary caregivers. I mean the senior caregivers, not people like Tom Rider, who was at most a barn hand, and despite what he wants us to believe, has had no experience whatsoever actually training elephants. Barn hands do not have the authority to even speak directly to an elephant or give it commands, as elephants do not like to be spoken to or given orders by someone who they do not respect, and if Rider did do that, he is very lucky he did not get whacked. If Tom Rider "bonded with his girls" as he claims, he was in direct violation of company policy and he was putting himself at risk because he was nowhere near qualified to interact directly with the elephants.
I was visiting one time when they were having trouble with an elephant named Tova, who did not seem to want to follow the procedures of the show any more. Instead of a beating, it was determined that she was no longer happy performing, and she was sent back to the Center to live a leisurely life. By the way, Mr Feld was consulted, and he left the decision to the handlers as they were the ones who knew her best. He put the well-being of Tova first, which says that he cares about his animals, not just how much money he can make off them.
It is simply not true that they "are never allowed any freedom to be who they are" and "all the animals are forced to eat and sleep where they urinate and defecate". Any excrement was always cleaned up immediately.
I wish people would do their own research before just blindly believing everything they hear from people who have their own agenda. By the way, Tom Rider has received well over $100,000.00 for his 'story' and his help with the activists' cause.

Anonymous said...

Oh please, I've worked with the circus for yrs, they all hit the animals. Don't think for a minute that life for these animals is all love and kindness. That is a bunch of bull. How about the elephant trainer who bit the tip off of the elephants trunk when he was drunk, or the fact that they make elephants lie down to take their beatings. I saw it daily. These are animals that should never be in captivity and only a weak minded self serving low life would enjoy watching this garbage. It's time to give back to these animals and stop using them for profit.