Ashley Judd is speaking up for circus animals. The actress and activist sent out a plea to her followers not to attend circuses, especially Ringling Bros.
That case resulted in a settlement in which Ringling agreed to pay $270,000 to the USDA for alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act, the largest penalty paid by a circus. The circus also agreed to provide Animal Welfare Act compliance training to all employees that work with their animals, starting in March.
On the site Judd mentions, Ringling Beats Animals, PETA provides photos and videos of their undercover investigations at Ringling shows throughout the country. “In 2009, PETA went undercover at ‘the saddest show on Earth’ —Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus—and captured Ringling workers on video as they beat and whipped elephants dozens of times in venues across the country. The 11 elephants used in the show—most of whom were captured in the wilds of Asia as early as 1957 and some of whom have spent more than 40 years with the circus—suffer month after month at the hands of Ringling and its crew. PETA documented workers as they struck elephants and tigers on the head, face, ears, trunk, legs, and other parts of their bodies with bullhooks and other abusive handling tools,” they write.
PETA is not the only animal organization to speak out against Ringling Bros. Others include Compassion Over Killing, Mercy for Animals and Animal Defenders International. A list of celebs have taken a stand against Ringling too, including Sarah Silverman, Jillian Michaels, Olivia Munn and Pink. Recently, the Traveling Exotic Animals Protection Act was backed by Bob Barker and Jorja Fox in Washington; the legislation would end the use of exotic animals in traveling circuses in the United States.