PETA has had a long-standing campaign against Ringling Bros. circus, including investigations, protests, and demands that the USDA seize the circus’ ailing elephants. Today, news broke of a major victory against Ringling Bros.
Ringling’s parent company, Feld Entertainment, will pay a settlement of $270,000 to the USDA for alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) dating back to 2007. It is the largest penalty ever under the act. The circus also agreed to provide training to all employees who will work with animals, and hire an employee who will ensure the AWA is being followed.
PETA is claiming part of the victory. According to Contactmusic, a PETA spokesperson said, “PETA’s complaints against Ringling Bros. with regard to crippled elephants, the death of a baby elephant, the beating of other elephants, and the killing of a lion, going back several years, have resulted in the biggest fine in circus history. The government has taken a first step, and now it must confiscate the elephants. What remains to be done is for the public to be made aware of this history of abuse so that people will know to keep their children away from the circus.” The spokesperson also credited celebrities who have lent their famous faces and voices to the campaign. “This victory is thanks in large part to support from Olivia Munn and other celebrities, including Pink and comedians Sarah Silverman and Cloris Leachman, who have spoken up for animals used by circuses.”