PETA Chides Ringling Bros. for Federal Inspection of Tiger Hurt in Anaheim and Ill Elephant in LA

Categories: Grrranimals
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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was cited for "serious violations" of the federal Animal Welfare Act during this summer's engagements at the Honda Center in Anaheim and Staples Center in Los Angeles, an animal rights group charges.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection report provided to the Weekly by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) does show concerns were raised about the care of 9-year-old female tiger Kimba and 35-year-old female Asian elephant Banko, who performed in Anaheim and LA respectively.

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Photo by Keith May/OC Weekly
A Ringling Bros. elephant takes a bath in Anaheim a few summers ago.
But a Ringling Bros. spokesman accused PETA, as the circus has in the past, of distorting the truth to further its animal rights goals.

On Aug. 5, which was two days before the circus ended its Anaheim run, Kimba received a laceration when a handler accidentally closed the gate of an transport cage on her tail. According to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service report dated Aug. 25 and prepared by staff veterinarian Pamela L. Smith:

In the medical record for Kimba on 8/6/11 the director of veterinary services states that the veterinary technician had called her and said that, "Kimba had caught her tail in a transfer cage last night and had about a one-inch cut near the tip of her tail." A record created by the consulting veterinarian on 8/8/11 described the wound as follows: "the cut is about 1 1/2 inches long and 1/2 wide and is approximately 1-2 inches from the distal tail tip."

The inspection report goes on to state that the veterinarian technician understood a handler closed the gate on the tiger's tail, but she was unsure of the details.

It was unclear whether this was the result of a problem with the cage, a personnel training deficit, or simple human error. We asked to interview the employee involved, but access to that employee was denied by staff.

As you might expect, PETA's Senior Media Coordinator David Perle zeroed in on that last bit in his email about the inspection report to the Weekly, actually underlining for emphasis: "Ringling denied the USDA access to the employee involved."

But Steve Payne, spokesman for Virginia-based Feld Entertainment that owns the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, said the reason the handler was not made available for an interview was because the USDA inspector had already worked out Kimba's future care with circus management.

"That was after the fact," Payne said of the USDA request to speak with the handler. "[Management] already answered all their questions."

The inspection report recommendation when it came to the Kimba incident essentially boils down to being more careful in the future and reviewing past incidents to see if staff training and/or animal equipment should be modified. As the report succintly put it:

To be corrected from this time forward.

Medical records supplied to the USDA also showed that at Staples on July 20, 2011, Banko the elephant suffered from diarrhea and abdominal discomfort that required pain medication. The inspection report goes into detail about the symptoms and medications she endured for the next couple days before her appetite and demeanor returned to normal.

But federal inspectors were also told by a staff veterinary technician and a consulting veterinarian who was not on site when Banko first started suffering from her ailments that she "was required to participate in the 7/20/11 performance in Los Angeles . . ."

The vet tech told us that Banko seemed comfortable enough to perform, and that to seperate her from the elephant group would have been more distressing to her.

This did not appease the USDA inspector.

Animals should not be required to perform when they are experiencing pain and distress. Requiring animals to perform when they are experiencing pain or discomfort is not a condition consistent with their good health and well being. Appropriate planning and training measures should be put into effect in order to allow animals to be excused from performing in the event that they are experiencing any condition such as pain, discomfort, or illness that would make performing inconsistent with their good health and well being.

To be corrected from this time forward.


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11 comments
Musicgirl
Musicgirl

Ringling Bros is horrible to animals.  Time to close down

Mariam Willis
Mariam Willis

They are animal abusers and its all over youtube, Facebook and the internet...they abuse animals when they are still babies to train them and wild animals are not here to entertain us or being exlpoited...that is all that circus has ever done...circus are a thing of the passed because evrybody know that animals belong free in the wild...YOU DONT HAVE TO BE AN ACTIVIST TO KNOW THAT, ALL YOU HAVE TO BE IS TO BE APPRECIATIVE, RESPECTFUL OF ANIMALS. When you love animals, you love them for them, not for yourself or your wallet. A circus is an abusive and violent environment for animals...it is unatural to see an elephant get upside down on his head!!!! Do you know what this circus does to these creatures to make them do that???? TORTURE!!! 

Jkavvy14
Jkavvy14

Get off the PETA topic and instead focus on the animals. 10 minutes of online research would quickly detail the poor conditions these animals endure. Ringling corporate influence is overwhelming. The welfare of the animals is not their main concern or even a top priority...we all know it's money. Sarah the elephant is over 50 years old and has been performing most of her life. Even a simple example like this shows the greed. If they really cared about her welfare they would allow her to retire, preferably to paws or tes.

cm
cm

Forget about the specific injuries, how can keeping elephants in small cages overnight, forcing them to travel all over the U.S., subjecting them to stress and unnatural environments, be considered anything but abuse?

afghanround
afghanround

Ringling spokespeople will say whatever it takes to make them look good even if it contradicts what they have previously said. Read the USDA report: http://sarah54.webs.com/. The Ringling Senior veterinarian said Sarah probably has a pus-filled infected uterus. Who treats Sarah? The vet diagnosed her. But the handlers are not treating her. And someone else is forcing her to perform. This is how they spin the words and the situation. The USDA said Sarah’s issues are a repeat noncompliance issue from 11/18/10. This is because no one is enforcing that she is getting proper medical care. Read closely and you will see it. Please boycott this blatant abuse.

afghanround
afghanround

Ringling spokespeople will say whatever it takes to make themlook good even if it contradicts what they have previously said. Read the USDA report:http://sarah54.webs.com/. The Ringling Seniorveterinarian said Sarah probably has a pus-filled infected uterus. Who treatsSarah? The vet diagnosed her. But the handlers are nottreating her. And someone else is forcing her to perform. This is how they spinthe words and the situation. The USDA said Sarah’s issues are a repeat noncomplianceissue from 11/18/10. Thisis because no one is enforcing that she is getting proper medical care. Read closelyand you will see it. Please boycott this blatant abuse.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Because the other option would be for them to either bet mauled by a Lion or shot for their Ivory... By that Logic is it fair that I confine my 14 lb dog (Who I adore like my own child) in my 2k sq foot house or should I let her fend for herself with the coyotes at night?

Bittrsistr
Bittrsistr

big fella suck. peta rules. and if u were an circus animal u'd root for peta too.

bigriggs
bigriggs

No fan of the circus but PETA sucks ass.

Lionhearted
Lionhearted

Then talk about how you feel about the circus and why it's wrong and save the critique of Peta's effectiveness for someone with something smart to say.

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