Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Using elephants in circuses must stop

Posted: 30 March 2012. Updated: 30 March 2012

Zoo, academic and animal protection experts react to Cork circus elephant escape

Today delegates at the Summit for Elephants at Oakland Zoo, California issued a statement calling for an end to the use of elephants in traveling circuses. Scientists, zoos, sanctuaries and animal protection organisations signed a statement:

This week’s escape of an elephant from Courtney Brothers Circus in Cork, Rep. of Ireland, could have easily resulted in disastrous consequences for both local people and the animal.

The incident highlights how inappropriate it is to keep wild animals like elephants in traveling circuses.

The PAWS Summit for Elephants Conference currently taking place at Oakland Zoo, California, is exploring and discussing improvement of the handling of elephants in captivity and is bringing together animal protectionists, zoos, and those working with elephants in the wild.

We the undersigned delegates at this conference urge that steps be taken to end the use of elephants in travelling circuses in the interests of protection of the welfare of these wild and magnificent animals, and in the interests of public safety.

Over 30 delegates at the Summit signed the letter, including:

  • Jan Creamer, President, Animal Defenders International
  • Pat Derby, Co-founder, Performing Animal Welfare Society & ARK2000 Elephant Sanctuary
  • Colleen Kinzley, Director of Animal Care, Conservation and Research, Oakland Zoo
  • Ron Kagan, Executive Director, CEO, Detroit Zoo
  • Gail Laule, Active Environments, Inc.
  • Dr. Mel Richardson, Veterinarian, Captive Wildlife Health Consultant
  • Joyce Poole, Ph.D., Founder, ElephantVoices
  • Kartick Satyanarayan, Founder, Wildlife SOS India
  • Cindy Machado, Director of Animal Services, Marin Humane Society
  • Rob Atkinson, CEO, The Elephant Sanctuary, Tennessee
  • Patricia McEachern, Ph.D., Professor, Director, Drury University Forum on Animal Rights
  • Delcianna Winders, Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement, PETA Foundation

Click for letter and all signatories
Click to watch video

Jan Creamer President of Animal Defenders International (ADI): “Some of the most respected elephant experts in the world have signed this statement and agree that circuses are no place for such animals. This could have been a very, very serious incident that could have proved lethal for the animal or people. Today at the conference we saw video of elephants seriously injuring and killing people. Picture the scene in Cork if a child had simply stepped out from one of those cars in the car park. It makes no sense in welfare or safety terms to continue to allow the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.”

ADI Stop Circus Suffering campaign partner Ireland’s Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) have been protesting the circus for weeks and warning of the potential for an incident such as this.

ARAN’s John Carmody: "With the frantic images of the elephant trying to escape on Tuesday from the circus hitting households everywhere, people across our nation are finally realising that circuses with animals have no place in Irish society.

"The writing is finally on the walls for those still clinging onto a future of animal-acts, and now people realise that we must end this outdated entertainment."

Currently, the UK, USA, Colombia and Brazil are considering bans on the use of wild animals in circuses, whilst over 20 other countries have now banned wild animal acts or certain wild species.

Media contact:
Phil Buckley, Media Relations Director
Animal Defenders International,
07716 018250 or 020 7630 3344

Animal Defenders International
With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing the behind-the-scenes suffering in industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world, educates the public on animals and environmental issues.


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