Thursday, July 23, 2009

Are You With PETA on This One...?

I love elephants. I'd like to know if the trainers' whips can be used without the beating. But given how casual the men look, I have no doubt that those elephants get whapped into line routinely. My family skipped Ringling Bros. this summer. Every year the animal rights activists are out there protesting. It's hard not to shamed, and readers know that's a trick with me!

The New York Daily News has the story, "
PETA Video Shows Ringling Bros. Circus Handlers Beating Elephants":

The world-famous Ringling Bros. circus faces fresh accusations of animal abuse today after undercover videos show handlers beating elephants before they enter the ring.

The tape, made by a man who posed as a stagehand for six months, is likely to stir outrage and give animal rights activists new ammunition in their campaign against the circus that bills itself "The Greatest Show on Earth."

A worker with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals used a secret camera to document what the group calls the abuse of animals as they're led from holding pens to the stage.

The animals are seen herded together, wearing headdresses, while trainers stand around, appearing to randomly whip them with bull hooks across the head, legs and body.

Loud cracking noises can be heard.

In one scene, a handler curses an elephant, saying, "F--- you, fat ass" before using his whip to nonchalantly strike its trunk.

The elephants are led with a bull hook - a long pole with a metal point at the end - used to pull them by the trunk.

The undercover PETA employee scored a job with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and traveled with the circus as it toured seven states, a spokesman said.

Footage was shot between January and June, the animal rights organization said, and included a stint at Madison Square Garden.

"He witnessed these elephants being beaten for no apparent reason," said Daphna Nachminovitch, PETA's vice president for cruelty investigations, who described the abuse as "consistent" and "routine."

"We've known for years that backstage beatings occur," said Nachminovitch, "but what will strike the audience is that these elephants can't do anything right as far as these workers go.

"This sort of behavior is deeply embedded."

Ringling Bros. officials said they were unaware of the video and could not comment on its content, but they maintained their animals are treated properly.

"PETA is an animal rights extremist group," said Steve Payne, a spokesman for Feld Entertainment, which owns Ringling Bros.

The guy's right about PETA being extremist. See Jacob Laksin, "Animal Rights Extremism Meets Academia." That piece discusses Gary Yourofsky, a hardline radical activist who's been banned in Britain for seeking to "foment or justify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs ..."

That sounds about right. I wrote about some related issues earlier at, "
J. David Jentsch Stands Up to Animal Rights Extremists." At that piece I link to Roger Scruton's key essay, Animal Rights."

For reasons found at those links, no matter how much I abhor this treatment of the elephants, I just can't get too close to these radical activists ideologically and politically - if not physically.

Hat Tip: Memeorandum. Also, blogging, Perez Hilton, which shouldn't be surprising I guess ...


Dennis said...

One wonders that it took six months to get this film. If abuse was that prevalent then why so long.
Given that films can be doctored and PETA's radical ideas one is left wondering if this is just another fake.
PETA has been guilty of actions just like this.