From my Inbox:

A few months ago a lion and an 8-month-old elephant used by the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus were killed. Last year Ringling destroyed an 8-month-old elephant named Riccardo after he suffered irreparable fractures to both hind legs when he fell off a circus pedestal.

In 1999, Benjamin, a 4-year-old endangered baby elephant who had been removed from his mother before she could teach him to swim, stepped into a pond while the circus was traveling through Texas and drowned as he tried to move away from a trainer who was poking him with a bullhook. PETA has obtained videotape of this incident.

On July 13, a young, healthy Ringling lion named Clyde died in a transport cage aboard a train crossing the Mojave Desert in 109°F heat. According to veteran Ringling employee and lion handler Frank Hagan, Ringling’s trainmaster refused repeated requests to stop the train to water the lions during the scorching trip from Phoenix, Ariz., to Fresno, Calif. In order to force wild animals to perform stressful and often painful acts, trainers use metal bullhooks, whips, muzzles, and electric prods.

PETA has obtained shocking undercover video footage of elephants who are being beaten with bullhooks by a circus trainer. The violent training methods shown in the video are commonly used in circuses, including Ringling, which is a chronic violator of the federal Animal Welfare Act and has an abysmal history of deaths of animals in its care.

PETA has U.S. government documents showing that Ringling paid $20,000 to settle charges of failing to provide veterinary care to a dying baby elephant. Since 1990, there have been 19 documented elephant deaths at Ringling. And just this past summer, a baby elephant, a lion, and three horses were killed at Ringling Bros. PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk said:

This cruelty, these beatings, are what the circus is desperate to hide from the public. These animals are not volunteers. They have been deprived of their precious freedom and beaten for a lifetime of cheap tricks.

Broadcast-quality footage of animals abused in circuses and U.S. Department of Agriculture documents detailing Ringling animal deaths are available. For more information, please visit PETA’s Web site Circuses.com.

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