Posted: 16 October 2012. Updated: 17 April 2015
Accident in Mississippi increases calls from ADI for an end to the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.
On Sunday 14 October, a semi-truck pulling a trailer of four circus elephants belonging to Cole Brothers Circus of the Stars ran off Interstate 10 in south Mississippi.
In local media reports, Kurt Necaise, incident commander for West Hancock County Fire and Rescue, stated that three elephants were unloaded while the trailer was unhooked from the damaged truck and pulled back to the interstate, however the fourth elephant was “too angry” to unload. Both the driver and elephants appear to have been unhurt.
Tim Phillips, ADI Vice President commented: “It is lucky that the animals, nor people, appear to have been seriously injured. Although the injuries to a huge, heavy animal like an elephant being thrown around during an accident may not be realized yet, we will have to see. Accidents do happen, but if you are carrying dangerous wild animals then the consequences are potentially disastrous.”
ADI is asking that the Cole Brothers elephants be retired to the PAWS ARK2000 Sanctuary in California which specializes in rehabilitating ex-circus elephants.
The accident highlights the terrible lives circus animals lead, kept for almost the entire year in temporary housing and, every week, forced onto the backs of trucks to move them to the next location.
The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act launched in Congress by ADI and the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) would eliminate the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling circuses.