Since the crystal clear footage of Ringling Bros. workers beating animals isn't going to be brushed under the circus tent anytime soon—and since the Feds are now investigating—the company has released their second statement. In it, they call the PETA footage "deceptively edited," but unless the animal rights organization got their hands on some of George Lucas's CGI experts, that seems a ridiculous accusation.
Their full statement is after the jump, but in summary they note they have conducted veterinary examinations and found that the elephants are all in good health. Of course, this does not take in to account what decades of abuse will do to an animal emotionally, nor does it factor in the animal being in pain at the moment they are punched in the face or hit with a bullhook.
They also admit the footage "may appear disturbing," and as such they have "initiated a review of elephant handling on the Red Unit. The company is addressing the matter and will take all necessary actions, including redoubling its educational efforts, taking disciplinary actions, where appropriate, and possibly instituting additional systems of internal monitoring." Maybe they could start those education efforts by showing this video of what not to do.
In the meantime, this summer expects to see the outcome in the lawsuit filed against the circus for their treatment of elephants. PETA also monitors all circuses and you can keep up here (sometimes it can get even uglier).
Following the release last week of a deceptively edited video by the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey conducted veterinary examinations of all our elephants on the Ringling Bros. ® Red Unit. This and the 60 other veterinary examinations over the past six months found that the elephants are all in good health.
Ringling Bros. believes that the validity of the latest footage released by PETA, which may appear disturbing, remains questionable and that PETA’s video allegations should have been disclosed immediately, not months later, if they were truly concerned about the welfare of our elephants. Nevertheless, Ringling Bros. wants to assure the public that we take any allegations concerning animal care very seriously, no matter the source. The company has initiated a review of elephant handling on the Red Unit to maintain the high standard of respect for animals required by Ringling Bros., which goes beyond meeting regulatory requirements. The company is addressing the matter and will take all necessary actions, including redoubling its educational efforts, taking disciplinary actions, where appropriate, and possibly instituting additional systems of internal monitoring.
In addition to being regularly examined by a team of veterinarians, the Red Unit just concluded two weeks of performances in Anaheim, CA, where it was inspected by local animal control officials and was in compliance with animal welfare laws and regulations. In the past six months, including the time period allegedly covered by PETA’s video, this circus unit has been inspected by 12 different state, local and federal inspection authorities and was in compliance with animal welfare laws and regulations.
“Ringling Bros. is committed to ensuring the absolute best for its animals and those who care for them, including correcting any perception that may contradict our dedication to the care and management of the largest herd of Asian elephants in the Western Hemisphere,” said Janice Aria, Director of Animal Stewardship and Training, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. “By addressing this issue, we trust that our customers, our employees and our industry colleagues will continue to see Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey as a responsible animal steward and that we are committed to providing the very best of care for all our animals.”