It's unsurprising that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has been called out in the past for abusing their animals, but it's another thing to see it all on tape. PETA went undercover this year and captured Ringling workers on video beating and whipping elephants. The organization announced their findings today at a press conference (NY1 has footage), calling upon Madison Square Garden to ban the circus, or at least the use of animals in their show.
This summer expects to finally see a verdict in a lawsuit filed against Ringling, which centers around the circus's use of steel-barbed bullhooks, electric prods, and shackles on the elephants. PETA's new footage also shows abuse to the circus's tigers. They say workers struck animals on the head, face, ears, legs, and other parts of their bodies with bullhooks and other abusive handling tools. "The unit's animal superintendant and head elephant trainer were among those who used bullhooks—sharp, fireplace pokerlike devices—to hook and yank elephants by their sensitive skin." Their skin, by the way, is as sensitive as human's.
While this is all on tape, Ringling has thus far not commented on the footage and merely called PETA "an extremist animal rights group." Perhaps they need some prodding by a bullhook to get them talking.