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Elephants Escape Circus in St. Louis – Can You Blame Them?

    March 23, 2014
    Tina Volpe
    Comments are off for this post.

A parking lot in Saint Louis, Missouri got quite a surprise when elephants belonging to the St. Louis Moolah Shrine Circus made an appearance.

Escape happens frequently, as evidenced in many videos and films, due to the cruel treatment and horrible conditions circus elephants are made to live.

So bad in fact, that Animal rights campaigners have called for a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, as undercover video footage reveals shocking abuse of circus elephants.

An undercover agent filmed Carson & Barnes trainers using blowtorches and electric prods on elephants and a head trainer tells his protégé to “make ‘em scream.”

In order to train an 8,000-11,000 pound animal to perform tricks, physical punishment has been a standard training method. Elephants are frequently beaten, shocked, and whipped in order for them to perform repeatedly the routines of circus performance.

With skin (and emotions) as sensitive as humans, it is completely understandable why they escape when there is the slightest chance.

In testimony provided by former Beatty-Cole elephant keeper Tom Rider, he revealed “in White Plains, N.Y., when Pete did not perform her act properly, she was taken to the tent and laid down, and five trainers beat her with bull-hooks.” Rider also told officials that “after my three years working with elephants in the circus, I can tell you that they live in confinement and they are beaten all the time when they don’t perform properly.” To hide this abuse from the public, cuts and lacerations from bull-hooks are often covered up with “wonder dust,” a type of theatrical pancake makeup.

If there could be anything worse, it would be the confinement they endure. In the wild, elephants generally walk up to 50 miles per day – but in circuses they are often confined to spaces no bigger than a standard one-bedroom apartment. Some states require the chaining of elephants when not performing. They are then chained in spaces the size of an average automobile by two legs for up to twenty hours a day.

Who wouldn’t run? Their entire lives with the circus are lived in this manner – and all the while, just as humans would, they long for freedom evidenced by the hundreds of stories of elephant escapes.

Image via YouTube

  • http://www.vasumurti.org VasuMurti

    Animals don’t belong in captivity: they belong in the wild. This news story deserves the same level of attention given years ago when a cow escaped from a slaughterhouse near Cincinnati, was adopted by animal activists and allowed to live in peace in an animal sanctuary and someday die of natural causes, and was given the name “Cinci-Freedom.”

  • JB

    Would there be a rescue team here in the United States to be able to go get those elephants, and bring them to a sanctuary so they can live the rest of their lives in a more beautiful world with people that would love them, and care for them the right way they need to be cared for. Please rescue them A.S.A.P. so they do not suffer any longer.

  • scrappy

    I wish they could run all the back to their places of origin

  • scrappy

    I wish they could run all the way back to their places of origin

  • Jeff W.

    This kind of story is actually becoming funny and I root for the elephants. Circuses are not going to go away just because they do not have some animals in captivity. Move on circuses and find some new acts.