Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Ringling Circus greeted with protests in Bakersfield

Posted: 31 August 2012. Updated: 31 August 2012

Bakersfield, CA August 28, 2012—Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus faces protests in Bakersfield over their use of wild animals. Animal Defenders International’s (ADI) investigations have found that animals in US circuses commonly suffer from physical and social deprivation, living in small, barren, mobile cages under brutal control methods and physical violence. ADI argues that even with the best intentions in the world, traveling circuses cannot provide for the needs of wild animals. ADI’s Break the Chain grassroots partner Bakersfield Alliance for Animalswill be educating the public on Thursday, August 30, at 6:00 pm outside Rabobank Arena, Bakersfield, CA 1001 Truxtun Ave, Bakersfield, CA 93301 where the Ringling Circus is having performances this week through Sunday, September 2nd. The protestors message is “don’t make the animals pay – keep the circus, leave out the animals."

WHAT: Ringling Bros Protests
WHEN: Thursday, August 30, 6:00 pm
WHERE: Rabobank Arena, Bakersfield, CA 1001 Truxtun Ave, Bakersfield, CA 93301

Animal advocates are not the only ones raising questions about circus animal abuse; the issue has now gained the attention of Congress. Animal Defenders International alongside Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA), introduced federal legislation last November, the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (H.R. 3359), which aims to protect wild animals by prohibiting them from being forced to perform in traveling circuses. The bill has bipartisan support, is gaining co-sponsors and awaits a hearing in the House Committee on Agriculture.

“Animal Defenders International applauds Congressman Jim Moran for introducing the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, (H.R. 3359), which aims to end the worst abuses of captive wildlife by prohibiting exotic animals from traveling circuses,” said Matt Rossell, ADI’s Campaigns Director. “Keeping elephants in chains, confining wild animals like lions and tigers in small cages, and using physical violence to make them perform unnatural tricks for the sole purpose of human amusement is increasingly difficult to justify in our advanced society.”

The USDA recently assessed the largest penalty in the history of the Animal Welfare Act, $270,000, against the owners of Ringling Bros. in a landmark settlement related to violations of law that included forcing a sick elephant to perform, rusty cages with splintered floors holding wild cats, and animals escaping.

“We need to protect children and animals from violence and abuse, and I encourage compassionate people to contact their Congressperson today and urge their support for the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act,” Rossell said. “When families find out about the routine abuses that go on behind the scenes at circuses like Ringling Bros., baby elephants taken away from their mothers, tied up and dominated to learn circus tricks, they will agree that circuses are no place for wild animals .”

It is a myth that wild animals are trained with kindness and rewards. Years of undercover investigations reveal that the training tools of the circus trade include bullhooks, (a heavy bar with a sharpened point and hook) stun guns and other electric prods, metal bars, whips, deprivation of food and water and intimidation. Large, potentially dangerous and often unwilling or distracted wild animals are routinely the subject of abuse by trainers who demand compliance using pain and punishment.

For more information please contact:
Matt Rossell
Animal Defenders International

Courtney Clerico
Bakersfield Alliance for Animals

Protests will be held prior to each Ringling performance as follows (times indicated are one hour prior to show time):
Thursday, Aug. 30th at 6:00pm
Friday, Aug. 31st at 6:00pm
Saturday, Sept. 1st at 10:00am, 2:00pm and 6:00pm
Sunday, Sept. 2nd at 12noon and 4:00pm

As the leader of the Break the Chain campaign, ADI works with animal rights and welfare organizations across the U.S., and is currently working to gain grassroots support for the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (H.R. 3359), which currently has 20 co-sponsors and is awaiting a hearing in the House Committee on Agriculture subcommittee of Livestock, Dairy and Poultry. ADI has conducted investigations of circuses all over the world and has produced comprehensive reports, including one in the U.S. called Science on Suffering which details and provides evidence of the inherent suffering of animals forced to travel and perform.

To find out more information on ADI’s Break the Chain campaign, visit

For more information about the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (H.R. 3359) visit

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.

More information is available on ADI’s U.S. website:

© Animal Defenders International 2019