One of the most iconic images of American life, that of circus elephants joined trunk-to-tail as they lumber along to delight “children of all ages,” as the old saying goes, is about to be debated in a courtroom. Are the beasts docile because they are highly intelligent and respond well to training, reinforced with the promise of apples, carrots, water and kindness at day’s end? Or do they obey because their spirits have been broken and they fear getting hit by their trainers? These are among the questions that will be asked when a lawsuit by a coalition of animal rights’ groups [including Born Free USA united with API] against the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus and its parent company opens in federal court on Wednesday.
Suit Challenges Image of Circus Elephants as Willing Performers
The New York Times