“Ringling Bros. has been battling with animal welfare advocates for a generation or more, and a landmark federal lawsuit headed to trial in October could finally answer the question of whether rough, regular treatment of endangered Asian elephants by circus handlers constitutes illegal animal abuse. At stake is the future of performing animals in circuses, particularly this 138-year-old global institution. Circus officials say that if the court prohibits the use of tools like leg chains and the ankus (an elephant training tool that activists call a bull hook and handlers call a guide), they’ll stop touring with elephants — a feature that they admit is their biggest draw.”
The trial — API is one of the plaintiffs — is set to begin on October 20.
Dirty secrets under the big top
Steven T. Jones
San Francisco Bay Guardian