How Baby Elephants are Trained

Since 2000, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Ringling numerous times for serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), such as the following:

  • Improper handling of dangerous animals
  • Failure to provide adequate veterinary care to animals, including an elephant with a large swelling on her leg, a camel with bloody wounds, and a camel injured on train tracks
  • Causing trauma, behavioral stress, physical harm, and unnecessary discomfort to two elephants who sustained injuries when they ran amok during a performance
  • Endangering tigers who were nearly baked alive in a boxcar because of poor maintenance of their enclosures
  • Failure to test elephants for tuberculosis
  • Unsanitary feeding practices

Ringling Beats Animals: A PETA Undercover Investigation


PETA’s 2009 investigation of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus found that workers were beating, whipping, and hooking elephants and striking tigers.

Ringling’s Baby Elephants Tied Up and Electro-Shocked by Trainers

Never-before-seen photos reveal how Ringling Bros. circus trainers cruelly force baby elephants to learn tricks, and it’s not through a reward system, as they claim. Explore the photos that will make parents think twice about taking their child to the circus.

You may have wondered how Ringling Bros. gets 8,000-pound elephants to perform tricks like sitting up and even standing on their heads, but now you know. Ringling breaks the spirit of elephants when they’re vulnerable babies who should still be with their mothers. Unsuspecting parents planning a family trip to the circus don’t know about the violent training sessions with ropes, bullhooks, and electric shock prods that elephants endure, so we need you to tell them.

Jada Pinkett Smith Wants Bullhook Ban Enforced

Unlike me and other actors, elephants do not choose to perform. They are often violently coerced by Ringling’s trainers with bullhooks, which are jabbed into the sensitive areas of their bodies.

In advance of the Ringling Bros. circus’ stop in Baltimore later this month, Jada Pinkett Smith, a proud native of Charm City, has written to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake urging her to make sure that the city’s absolute ban on the use of any “mechanical, electrical, or manual device that is likely to cause physical injury or suffering” to induce or encourage an animal to perform is enforced, according to Baltimore City Health Code § 10-407(a), to prohibit Ringling from using bullhooks on elephants.

How You Can Help Ringling’s Elephants

Join Jada Pinkett Smith, Cloris Leachman, Chrissie Hynde, and many more kind people in demanding action to protect the elephants abused by Ringling.

In His Own Words: A Ringling Elephant Trainer Tells All




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