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Elephant Abuse Caught on Tape

Where's Dumbo when you need him? The New York Daily News reports that an undercover video of Ringling Bros. circus handlers beating elephants has surfaced. Evidently, a worker with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals posed as a stagehand for six months and toured through seven states with the circus in order to secretly film the alleged abuse. The video shows trainers randomly whipping elephants with bull hooks—poles tipped with a metal point—across the heads, legs, and bodies. The bull hooks were also used to pull the animals by the trunk to herd them. Ringling Bros. officials said they weren't aware of the video and couldn't comment on its contents, but said their animals were properly treated. This is not the circus' first elephant incident. In 2003, a former employee sued the show for "harming, harassing and wounding" the elephants, and in 1998, the circus donated $20,000 to elephant-care groups to settle a case relating to the death of a 3-year-old elephant.

July 22, 2009 5:58 AM