The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

David Perle 202-483-7382

Chrissie Hynde Asks Mayor to Enforce Cruelty Code, Stop Abuse of Elephants in Circus

PETA Offers $5,000 Reward for Evidence of Illegal Bullhook Use by Ringling Bros., Holds Opening-Day Protest


Ohio native Chrissie Hyndehas fired off a letter on PETA's behalf to Toledo Mayor Michael P. Bell, asking him to ensure that Ohio's anti-cruelty code--which prohibits the use of any prods on animals in circuses--is enforced when Ringling Bros. circus will be in his jurisdiction during the circus' stint at the Huntington Center from October 27 to October 30. As the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer explains, Ringling routinely uses sharp metal bullhooks to poke, prod, and beat the elephants used in its shows into performing--even when the animals are ill and ailing. This is in direct violation of Ohio law.

When: Thursday, October 27, 12 noon

Where: Huntington Center, at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and N. Huron Street, Toledo

"The use of these sharp weapons on elephants, whose skin is so sensitive that they can feel flies biting them and then swat them away with their tails, is not only cruel but also unnecessary," writes Hynde. "My friends at PETA and I join animal advocates across the state in asking for your leadership so that Ringling will be held accountable."

To help combat this illegal cruelty, PETA is offering a reward of $5,000 to any employee of Huntington Center who catches any employee of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus using a bullhook or any similar weapon on the elephants used by the circus. While PETA members will be monitoring Ringling's arrival in Toledo for violations of this law, circus staff--previously caught violently striking the animals and hooking them so hard that it left scars on the animals--handle elephants out of public view most of the time.

The group will also hold a demonstration outside the Huntington Center on Ringling's opening day. Led by a bandaged "elephant" as well as PETA's giant inflatable "elephant," PETA members will explain to families that elephants used by Ringling are forced to perform difficult and painful tricks despite suffering from lameness and arthritis:

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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), with more than 2.0 million members and supporters, is the largest animal rights organization in the world. PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns.