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For Immediate Release: 08/06/09

Former Oakland Raider joins local group against Ringling cruelty

Shocking undercover video bolsters Sacramento group’s elephant abuse lawsuit

Oakland, CA — As Ringling Bros. circus prepares to open in Oakland, new undercover video of its handlers beating elephants with bullhooks is spreading like wildfire on the Internet and in the media. California-based non-profit Born Free USA, a plaintiff in the federal trial against Ringling Bros., points to this investigation as further evidence that Ringling Bros. circus is violating the Endangered Species Act by abusing Asian elephants.

“All the evidence, from this new investigative footage to statements by Ringling’s own CEO, proves that elephants endure a lifetime of abuse at the hands of the circus,” said Nicole G. Paquette, Esq., a witness in the case and senior vice president of Born Free USA. “In California, treating a dog the way Ringling treats its elephants would land a person in jail.”

Video from the 2009 investigation by PETA shows handlers repeatedly striking elephants with bullhooks, while evidence from the trial brought an admission from Kenneth Feld, CEO of Ringling’s parent company, that “all elephant handlers at Ringling strike elephants with bullhooks.”

“Some people say football is a violent sport, but it doesn’t compare to the violence inherent in striking a defenseless elephant with a metal-tipped stick. Sport is entertaining — cruelty is not,” said former Oakland Raiders Strong Safety, Jarrod Cooper. “Until the cruelty behind the big top ends, it’s time to call ‘time out’ on using elephants in circuses.”

Born Free USA and fellow plaintiffs ASPCA, Animal Welfare Institute, Fund for Animals, and former Ringling employee Tom Rider are calling for Californians to skip the circus and stop animal abuse.

Born Free USA is a leading national non-profit animal advocacy organization working to conserve and protect wildlife in the U.S. and globally. More information is available at www.bornfreeusa.org. Details on the trial against Ringling Bros. circus, including trial documents and exhibits, can be found at www.bornfreeusa.org/ringling.

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Contact:
Nicole Paquette, 916-622-7170, nicole@bornfreeusa.org

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