URGENT: Elephant With Ringling Bros. Collapses in Anaheim!

Update: The city of Anaheim appears to be abdicating all responsibility for this horrific incident, citing the self-serving claims of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus that Sarah's health is perfectly fine. Please take action now to remind city officials that in addition to having jurisdiction over this case, it is their professional responsibility to prohibit Ringling from performing in Anaheim if the circus cannot comply with local laws—which Ringling has amply demonstrated it cannot.

On the evening of Sunday, August 7, onlookers watched in horror as an elephant forced to perform with the Ringling Bros. circus collapsed while handlers were trying to load her onto a railcar in Anaheim, California. We have been told that the elephant was Sarah, a 54-year-old wild-captured Asian elephant who has a history of infection that, according to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture citation, Ringling has failed to properly treat. According to an eyewitness, Sarah didn't receive veterinary care while she lay on the pavement but was instead intimidated by Ringling employees and forced into the railcar.

This is just the latest incident of suffering involving elephants with the circus—there are currently no fewer than three open investigations into Ringling's cruelty by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Two independent veterinarians with many years of experience treating elephants analyzed video footage of Ringling's elephant walk and opening-night performance in Los Angeles just weeks ago. They wrote that multiple elephants who were forced to perform are lame, and that one elephant "is clinically lame to the point of being crippled. Her condition is painful and she should not be performing." And an elephant biologist who observed these same elephants in May reported that "[t]he elephants exhibited stiff limbs." She further noted that one elephant "had great difficulty getting up from the floor to take the 'sitting' position during th[e] performance," an indicator of painful arthritis.

Sarah, along with the other elephants languishing under Ringling's watch, is clearly not receiving the care that she needs, and her condition could become fatal if she doesn't receive proper treatment. These elephants need you now more than ever! Please speak up for them by urging Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait and Police Chief John Welter to prevent Ringling's abusive act from ever visiting Anaheim again.


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