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Ringling Bros. Circus — on trial for elephant abuse — UPDATE

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, February 5th, 2009 at 7:08 am in Circus, Elephants, Ringling Bros..

Chained elephant photo by Animal Welfare Institute, Washington, DC

I’ve arranged to get regular updates on this trial from the animal welfare attorneys who are pressing this elephant abuse case and I’ll be passing this information along to you.

Wednesday’s (Feb. 4) opening day of the trial was full of fireworks.

From Tracy Silverman, Esq., General Counsel, Animal Welfare Institute, Washington, DC:

GARY: Our (the plaintiffs) opening statement by Katherine Meyer previewed the wealth of evidence and testimony that will be presented about how Ringling Bros. elephants are forcefully struck with bull hooks and continuously chained causing them both physical and psychological harm in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

“Dr. Joyce Poole testified that it’s her expert opinion that Ringling Bros.’ routine practices do in fact harass as well as harm the animals.

“Thursday (today, Feb. 5) Pat Cuviello (first hand knowledge of Ringling Bros. elephant mistreatment and abuse) who was expected to testify Wednesday, will be called to the stand.

“We also expect to call former Ringling Bros. employees, Archelle Hundley and Robert Tom who will testify about the mistreatment they observed including one particularly devastating beating of an elephant. Additional photos and video illustrating mistreatment are expected to be offered into evidence.”
— Tracy Silverman

Is elephant abuse at the circus really family entertainment? Hummm. I’ll keep you updated on where this is going. /Gary

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8 Responses to “Ringling Bros. Circus — on trial for elephant abuse — UPDATE”

  1. jodey eliseo Says:

    somehow in ALL of their research….they FORGOT to include me, Jodey Eliseo, former dancer/ele rider, 29 year activist for the asian ele and the ONLY performer ever to come forward.
    i am praying but, from my extensive experience, once again, imo, they are going about this half baked and leaving out some important info.
    guess all i can do is to continue to pray.
    kathy is supposed to contact me tomorrow, for all the good it will do at this point :(
    on a brighter note……my quest to have a reunion with my ele sophie after a 27 year absence might just happen after all….was on the phone with wwf and they are interested in how she will react to seeing me again….for 3 year i was her only friend and she is now dying in a small zoo in illinois from foot infects, and crippling arthritis….very common in captive ele’s.
    in 1992, axel, or as i refer to him, SATAN, pulled a gun on me when i grabbed the bullhook out of his hand to stop him from further beating my already bleeding sophie.
    blessings, jodey eliseo

  2. jodey eliseo Says:

    oops, i made a mistake…axel did this in 1982….in 1992…my beautiful, but tragic, ele’s FINALLY killed him!

  3. Paul Says:

    did you say the elephant killed the trainer that was beating him?
    Im not sure if I read that right.
    If so, Good for the elephant!!!!
    People put themselfs so far above animals that abuse is so massive (like in animal lab testing) that its just really a huge shame…what if the elephant was beating on people forcing people to do tricks.what would the people feel like? Worse then prison! much worse!I believe people that cause all that pain should be put to the same pain they cause the animals!
    I think the best way is to educate people and don’t buy tickets to any’s all about money …so cut the money off!
    I have seen many videos that show the Circus Animals being abused!
    it was a shock to see, and the people doing the beating should go to hard labor prison for many years!
    May God have mercy on their evil souls!

  4. Paul Says:

    Hello Gary,
    I would like to know how the court case turned out.
    Is it over ?
    Did the elephants win (hopfully)
    I googled it but can find any thing up to date,had this site saved in my fav’s so I thought I would check here.The ringling update site seems like a bunch of hot air.
    If they treat the elephants so good,how come we see miles of video on you tube showing how they are beat and treated so badly.Just checking around to see if the elephants got a fair shake or not,the only good news on the whole thing so far is my wife and myself have a few friends that will never go to a live animal show.
    Just a small drop in the bucket.
    But every little bit helps.
    have a nice day and thank you for caring about the animals.

  5. marion cortes Says:

    thanks for this site..i have been trying to find a way to contact jodey eliseo

    i too am a a former ringling trick elephant rider, and axel was the trainer of my elephant betty..she saved my life once when he was so drunk in the show..
    i stopped the horrible handlers from jabbing her in my presence to ‘impress’ ne

    i have also tried to tell many who were supposed to be working on this case.[lawyers etc] my story, and usually didnt even get called back!

    i was there in 63 or so..the first year with two shows, one red and one blue

    i also wonder why there is virtually no coverage of this matter or trial..its like fighting apple pie or motherhood i one can bring themselve to see the truth

    thanks for this site..’carol..who rode sweet BETTY’

  6. Trying to Make a difference Says:

    I hope that Ringling Bros will be put out of business for what they have so cruelly done to animals they are supposed to care for. They NEED TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT!- We all know and see what they do and they do not deserve to have an animal under their care and even humans under their care probably to.

    And how Ringling Bros denies animal abuse!!!- You can see plain and clearly the elephants being chained up to 4ft long chains- THIS IS PURE ANIMAL ABUSE!- You also see them beat the animals bodies and faces with (I guess it is called a bullhook)- THIS IS ANIMAL ABUSE!-

    I pray for those animals, past and present, that I can do something or that someone else can to so that the torture and pain to these animals NEVER happens again to any extent.

  7. jodey eliseo Says:

    paul….sorry it took me so long to answer your question.
    yes, you heard me right….i told axel in 1982 that one day they would kill him and in 1993…they did.
    as to my reunion with sophie…..still waiting and she is NOT doing well at all and it seems no-one has the power or conviction to deal with the zoo keeper at the small zoo in illinois where she is dying of severe arthritis, herpes (no not an std) that has attacked her heart (very common in captured ele’s) and foot infections :(
    tom stalf, the zoo keeper, is a rotton soul who gets all of his broken down elephants from ringling and he REFUSES me the right to see her up close and personal…i sang to her every night and when i knew i had to leave her i sang her this old “bread” song…”everything i own” and i truly believe that she knew what was up and would cry with me.
    i’ve had a nobel science winner go to bat for this reunion only to be told no….crazy huh?
    more than that….it’s cruel….i believe sophie should know i’ve never forgotten or stopped loving her.
    i also believe that, depending on how she reacts, she could do much to show a depth of emotion and intelligence that most wouldn’t understand unless they saw it.
    still, as of today, no verdict, sophie is still hanging onto life by a thread, and i continue to pray….a lot!
    blessings, j

  8. Viki Bravo Says:

    Hello Jodey,
    Good for you for not giving up. I tell everyone about this abuse. Alot of people are blind this these facts. Ringling Bros should have been banned from using animals a long long time ago….
    This is crazy.
    I will continue to pray for these tortured animals.

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