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Animal News

New Video Shows Ringling Elephant Abuse

Published 07/23/09

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on Wednesday released what it says is a secretly recorded video showing handlers striking Ringling Bros. circus elephants backstage. PETA says someone affiliated with the group made the recording during a circus tour earlier this year. A Ringling spokeswoman denied PETA's abuse claims. "Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey loves its elephants," she said.

Born Free USA is currently waiting for a ruling on our lawsuit against Ringling for just such abuse.

PETA: Video shows Ringling Bros. abusing animals
Associated Press

Deadly exotic "pets" are never a good idea

Published 07/02/09

It is the sort of headline that grabs your attention: "Toddler Dies, Python Found Coiled Around Her." Wednesday, a 12-foot-long Burmese python appears to have killed a 2-year-old Florida girl. The girl's family owned the python, as well as a 6-foot-long boa constrictor. No doubt, this incident will start a conversation about whether it's a good idea to house exotic pets, especially when there are children involved.

Born Free USA knows it's never a good idea. See our list of incidents involving children and adults who have come into contact with reptiles, often with deadly results.

Python Attack Raises Safety Concerns about Housing Exotic Pets
Al Tompkins
Poynter Online
The Poynter Institute
St. Petersburg, FL


Anything but an Elephant's Natural Environment

Published 06/23/09

In the circus, you see gentle giants donning funny outfits and performing tricks on tiny tubs. It's anything but an elephant's natural environment. "Should the elephants get out there and perform these tricks every day for the public so you (Ringling Bros.) can make pocket money? Or should it be that the elephants don't have to do this anymore?" asks Tom Rider, a former Ringling employee and plaintiff in the federal lawsuit against the circus.

See more on Born Free USA's lawsuit.

Lawsuit accuses Ringling Bros. of abusing elephants
Las Vegas KTNV


Keep dolphins out of the desert

Published 06/19/09

14 dolphins have died in the 19 years since Steve Wynn opened the Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage. Now, an animal rights group wants to stop the casino from bringing more dolphins to the desert.

Born Free USA's Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson contributes to this video report via phone.

Dolphins in the Desert, seg. 3
Dana Gentry
Las Vegas Sun


More Ringling nonsense: Circus elephants enjoy living out of boxcars

Published 06/18/09

As the Ringling rail cars were unloaded in Las Vegas Tuesday evening, 12 hours before their scheduled arrival, Ringling animal handler Ryan Henning expressed the same sentiments his employer has emphasized in recent years -- mainly, how well circus elephants are treated and how much the big pachyderms enjoy living out of boxcars. "They enjoy it. They travel very comfortably. I would say they travel better than the people in the show. They've got it made," he said.

The article links to the court documents in Born Free USA's trial against Ringling (for violating the Endangered Species Act by cruelly mistreating Asian elephants) which clearly show otherwise.

Circus Arrives in Las Vegas Amid Controversy
KLAS Channel 8, Las Vegas


Trying to stop more dolphin deaths

Published 06/10/09

In the days before a dolphin named Sgt. Pepper died last week at The Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, two animal rights organizations — Born Free USA and The World Society for the Protection of Animals — had filed a complaint against the Mirage’s request to import two more dolphins for its habitat. Part of the complaint, ironically, said more dolphins shouldn't be brought in because other dolphins had died in the past at the habitat, which the two groups claim is being used as a money-making entertainment enterprise, rather than for educational or conservation purposes.

Animal rights groups try to halt Mirage from importing dolphins
Amanda Finnegan
Las Vegas Sun


"The circus is good, family fun." Not.

Published 06/08/09

As the circus chugs into town on its mile-long train, a federal lawsuit casts a shadow over the Greatest Show on Earth. ... "Elephants are mobile animals," said Nicole Paquette, senior vice president and general counsel for Born Free USA, a plaintiff in the trial. "They want to walk around and roam for food and water. In the circus, they're chained, one foot in the front and one in the back."

Details on our lawsuit are available at www.bornfreeusa.org/ringling.

Beloved by kids, circus arriving with trunk full of critics
Hailey MacArthur
The Gazette (Colorado Springs)

Another captive dolphin death

Published 06/05/09

MGM Mirage today reported the second death of a dolphin this year at The Mirage's dolphin habitat. Two-year-old Sgt. Pepper died Wednesday of complications from a lung infection. Sgt. Pepper is the 14th dolphin to die at the Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat since the attraction opened in 1990.

The death comes hard on the heels of a request by The Mirage hotel to import two bottlenose dolphins. Born Free USA responded to the request asking the permit be denied on the grounds of the hotel’s dismal animal care record, the lack of educational and conservation value of the display, animal welfare and transport concerns, and more. Born Free USA's letter can be viewed at www.bornfreeusa/miragedolphins.

Mirage dolphin dies from lung infection complications
Amanda Finnegan
Las Vegas Sun

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