PETA-Ringling Bros. Elephant Spat Gets Curiouser (Plus Bonus Nude PETA Spokesmodel Flap)

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Photo by Keith May
Vegan Mel spreads the word.
When Clockwork reported in June that Melissa "Vegan Mel" Sehgal confined her nude painted body to a cage to demonstrate against Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus' treatment of elephants and other animals as the circus prepared to come to Anaheim, promoter Feld Entertainment cried foul.

So, we followed our post on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) member Sehgal's protest (and accompanying photo slideshow) with counter-spin from Feld's PR machine (and accompanying photo slideshow).

Well, Feld and PETA are at it again, only the animal rights group has dirt from a Ringling insider this time.

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Photo by Keith May
An elephant gets a bath as Ringling Bros. came to Anaheim in July.
Sammy Haddock, who in 1997 was hired to work as a handler at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida, died early last month at age 53 of liver failure. He left behind scores of pictures and a written recollection of his workplace that do not jibe with Feld Entertainment's version of how animals, especially baby circus elephants, are treated.

How do we know this? Because Samuel Dewitt Haddock Jr. brought his father's words and photos to Debbie Leahy, PETA's director of captive animals rescue and enforcement.

Ringling officials reportedly confirm that the pictures are genuine images of activity at its elephant conservation center, but they dispute Haddock's and PETA's interpretations of what is taking place.

Meanwhile, in other stitchless PETA spokesperson news, Real Housewives of New York-er Bethenny Frankel has released an untouched version of her original PETA ad, which had drawn criticism for being heavily airbrushed. Before and after follow . . .

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