Greatest Trial on Earth: Animal Cruelty Case Against Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Goes to Trial

300px-elephant_and_ankusIt has taken eight years, but Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus are heading to a non-jury trial over cruelty allegations related to its treatment of its elephants. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Animal Welfare Institute, and other plaintiffs allege that company’s use of sharp tools called bullhooks and the prolonged use of chains on the Asian elephants. The case is an interesting use of the federal Endangered Species Act rather than the usual animal cruelty statutes.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has set the trial for roughly three weeks. The company’s insist that federal regulations allow the use of chains and that such restraints are for the animals safety, particularly during transportation. Bullhooks (sometimes called an ankus or ankusha), long a controversial tool, is defended as the traditional tool used by elephant trainers for centuries. PETA released a video of Ringling elephant trainer Troy Metzler, known as “Captain Hook” using a bullhook on an elephant in a cruel fashion, here.

The plaintiffs insist that the average of more than 26 straight hours is cruel. They have also included the evidence of a whistleblower, a former Ringling Bros. employee who recounted acts of cruelty that he witnessed.

The plaintiffs alleged that the alleged abuse violates the “take” provision of the ESA.

For the full story, click here.

18 thoughts on “Greatest Trial on Earth: Animal Cruelty Case Against Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Goes to Trial

  1. ESA! That was one of our legal writing assignments last semester. As defined in the ESA “take” has many definitions, including “harm”. 16 USC 1532(19) I think. I bet that’s the one they’re going to use.

    The ESA also prohibits importing/transporting endangered species. I do wonder if it applies here, because this is not a wild population (or an experimental population), and presumably Ringling had proper permits to import the animals.

    The real question is whether an elephant is an endangered species as defined by the ESA.

  2. I have a real problem with the treatment of these very intelligent animals (that’s a massive understatement). Actually, I’m not really going to post my true thoughts as it will likely cause Mr. Turley to ban me from his site. Suffice it to say, if an animal cannot be treated humanely and still train the animal, then that particular animal should not be used.

  3. DAVOS, Switzerland: This was supposed to be the year the United States came in from the cold at the annual gathering of world leaders here. But instead of receiving a warm embrace, American policies were rebuked again and again in rhetoric that recalled the anger of the Bush years – except the ire this time was mostly directed at a new administration.

    “It’s extremely preoccupying that one of the first acts of the new Obama administration could be a measure that is clearly protectionist and a distortion of competition,” said Anne-Marie Idrac, the French trade minister.

    She said it was a “very bad sign that goes against” earlier statements opposing protectionism by the leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies.

    iht.com/articles/2009/02/01/business/webglobal-420859.php

  4. Obama voices concern about freed Guantanamo inmates
    Mon Feb 2, 2009 11:52am EST
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said in an interview aired on Monday he worried that detainees freed from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo, Cuba, might resume attacks on the United States.

    reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSTRE5113TW20090202

    THEN DON”T RELEASE THEM!

  5. Cramer on Obama’s Anti-Wall Street Comments: ‘We Heard Lenin’

    ‘Mad Money’ host compares new president’s attack on corporate profits to rhetoric from Russian communist.

    By Jeff Poor
    Business & Media Institute
    2/2/2009 1:49:14 PM

    CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer is seeing eerie similarities with the comments of President Barack Obama and the words of a communist revolutionary.

    Cramer, appearing on MSNBC’s Feb. 2 “Morning Joe,” drew comparisons between remarks between the first head of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, and Obama. Obama criticized Wall Street’s moneymaking on Jan. 30, when he said there would be a time “for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses. Now’s not that time. And that’s a message that I intend to send directly to them.”

    Cramer said that was similar to Lenin’s writings. “Let me tell you something, we heard Lenin,” Cramer said. “There was a little snippet last week that was, ‘Now is not the time for profits.’ Look – in Lenin’s book, ‘What Is to Be Done?’ is simple text of what I always though was for the communists, it was remarkable to hear very similar language from ‘What Is to Be Done?’ which is we have no place for profits.”

    businessandmedia.org/articles/2009/20090202134055.aspx

  6. THE TIMES OF INDIA IS OBAMA WATCHING!

    The world has noticed the Obama hypocrisy on lobbyists

    Too bad the American media hasn’t kept as close an eye on Barack Obama and his promises to clean up government as the Times of India has. Noting that Obama has already issues 17 exceptions to his no-lobbyist rules in the first two weeks of his inauguration, they wonder how it could worse:

    US president Obama has appointed more than 17 lobbyists after talking big on anti-lobbyist Governance and rooting corruption out of the American Government.

    Dreams are dreams. Facts are facts. President Obama is surrounded by corrupt lobbyists ready to sell America cheap. …

    Take the example of the newest exposure of doubletalk from Obama! After calling for clean Governance, he appoints a Treasury Secretary who “forgot” to pay for his ‘business tax’ for years! Tom Daschle, a top lobbyist in Washington, who has amended his U.S. tax forms to pay back taxes with interest, is now Obama’s best choice for America’s chief health official. …

    Would you believe, Obama had to issue 17 waivers on his own rule in less than two weeks for allowing lobbyist enter his Administration and control Governance of America!

  7. Fastest Failure Ever?
    by Jed Babbin

    02/02/2009
    It’s only four weeks since it convened, so how could a reasonable person say the 111th Congress is a failure? Actually, a reasonable person could hardly avoid that conclusion.

    The 110th Congress’s legacy is one of inaction, failing to address the nation’s most urgent problems. The worst part of that failure was the hastily-drafted bank bailout bill of last fall which — at the cost of $700 billion — was rammed through despite warnings that it simply wouldn’t work.

    Faced with that failure, and the accelerating decline of the economy, the 111th Congress began to the tune of the Obama inauguration and fanfare about changing the way Washington worked. But nothing has changed since Obama took office.

  8. “Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter. ” Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, May 7, 1998, p. S4507.

    “Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter. ” Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, May 7, 1998, p. S4507.

    “Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter. ” Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, May 7, 1998, p. S4507.

    “Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter. ” Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, May 7, 1998, p. S4507.

    “Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter. ” Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, May 7, 1998, p. S4507.

    “Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter. ” Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, May 7, 1998, p. S4507.

    “Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter. ” Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, May 7, 1998, p. S4507.

    “Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter. ” Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, May 7, 1998, p. S4507.

  9. Paris rejects ‘Obama-style’ stimulus program
    Bloomberg NewsPublished: February 2, 2009

    LYON: Prime Minister François Fillon on Monday rejected demands that the French government seek to stimulate consumer spending, rather than follow his plan to stimulate corporate and infrastructure investment, to lift France out of its economic slump.

    “It would be irresponsible to chose another policy, which would increase our country’s indebtedness without having more infrastructure and increased competitiveness in the end,” Fillon said in a speech in Lyon.

  10. I want to know why the spammers and trolls, ostensibly GOP supporters, have a beef with protecting elephants of all things? The symbolism is hysterical among other things. Poor elephants!

  11. Cramer on Obama’s Anti-Wall Street Comments: ‘We Heard Lenin’

    ‘Mad Money’ host compares new president’s attack on corporate profits to rhetoric from Russian communist.

    By Jeff Poor
    Business & Media Institute
    2/2/2009 1:49:14 PM

    CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer is seeing eerie similarities with the comments of President Barack Obama and the words of a communist revolutionary.

    Cramer, appearing on MSNBC’s Feb. 2 “Morning Joe,” drew comparisons between remarks between the first head of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, and Obama. Obama criticized Wall Street’s moneymaking on Jan. 30, when he said there would be a time “for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses. Now’s not that time. And that’s a message that I intend to send directly to them.”

    Cramer said that was similar to Lenin’s writings. “Let me tell you something, we heard Lenin,” Cramer said. “There was a little snippet last week that was, ‘Now is not the time for profits.’ Look – in Lenin’s book, ‘What Is to Be Done?’ is simple text of what I always though was for the communists, it was remarkable to hear very similar language from ‘What Is to Be Done?’ which is we have no place for profits.”

    businessandmedia.org/articles/2009/20090202134055.aspx

  12. Buddha,
    you hit the nail on the head with Republicans having problems with elephants being protected. Of course, the trolls and spammers aren’t real Republicans. They are hired bloggers. What upsets me the most is the fact that one of the current names of the trolls is my first name, Larry. You are giving St. Laurence a bad rap.

  13. Buddha/Rafflaw,
    You miss the association the trolls have with this article. I have always hated the circus since at the ages of 8, 9 and 10 when a beloved Aunt/Uncle insisted on taking me. Besides being depressed by the sideshow, sad for the animals, hating the clowns and bored by everything but the high wire acts, there was the omnipresent smell of dung pervading everything, even in Madison Square Garden. That is the trolls connection to this. Dung is their element given that their depth of intelligence is that of dung drawn flies.

  14. RINGLING BROS. CIRCUS VAIL OF CORRUPTION BY HIDING THE TRUTH OF ANIMAL ABUSE & CRUELTY, AND SETTING UP ONE MAN TO BE SILENCED BY THE MEDIA.

    In September of 1998 I joined with the Ringling Bros. Circus, and worked only three months. But it was three months of seeing grown men beating on the elephants for one reason or another, and I quit my job, and then turned evidence against the show on animal abuse & animal cruelty. Thus, becoming an Animal Rights Activist.

    However, It was far from over for me, while protesting against the show, and financing my own trips across the country. I was arrested for a crime set up by the CEO/owner of Feld Entertainment Mr Kenneth Feld, and also Soul Owner of the Greatest Show on Earth.

    ( A little bit of known facts about Mr Feld’s style corruption, by way of hiring former CIA Operatives to do his bidding, to set set up, or to discredit other activist from speaking out against the circus, and to have his way with his own show.

    As I stated, I was set up by the owner to be silenced, so the Mr Feld used September 11th,2001, ( 9/11, ) as his platform to silence me, by making making two threatening phone calls to the, Muslim Student Assoc. at Colorado University in, Boulder, Colorado, and to this day even though the charges were dropped. Dropped base on not enough evidence to convict. I refuse to drop it, and for good reason too. I could have done Six to Eight years for a crime I did not do, and who knows how many years under the Patriot Act.

    Now for the past Nine years I’ve been fighting a cause for justice, it no longer about animal cruelty, it about righting the wrong done to me by the owner of Ringling, and to get this man into a courtroom to face multiple charges of, Harassment, extortion, tampering with a wiriness in an ongoing investigation on involving animal abuse case, and lets not forget illegal wire taping. etc..

    Now I come to you, the general public for your help, and to ask for your help. Lets join together as a team to fight this man, to finally put Mr Kenneth Feld in his place, and to let him know we as a whole will not tolerate this type of action.

    Funding is needed for this project, going to court cost an arm and a leg, and is a very expensive ordeal.

    Thank you for your time

    Mr Glenn Dale Ewell – P.O. Box 655 – Independence, Oregon 97351 503-837-0958

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