Val and Frisco
Nothing is more heartless than tearing a wailing baby elephant away from his or her mother for the sole purpose of “entertainment.” But that’s what happens in circuses, where still-nursing calves less than two years old are violently separated from their mothers, subjected to cruel training, and sentenced to a lifetime of misery.
Despite mountains of evidence showing that circus life is inherently cruel for elephants of any age, circuses continue to deprive these highly intelligent and sensitive animals of all that is important to them: family, room to roam, freedom of choice, and a rich and complex natural environment.
Worst of all for the babies may be the separation from their mothers. Photos released last year
taken by a former Ringling Bros. trainer show how young calves are tethered or chained and literally dragged away from their mothers at an age when they still should be enjoying their mother’s coddling and protection. The calves are then subjected to abusive training meant to break their spirits and ensure complete submission to their handlers. For the rest of their lives, they will live in fear of pain and punishment and spend endless hours on chains as they are shipped around the country to perform inane tricks at the point of a bullhook.
IDA has been focusing its efforts on ending the use of all elephants in circuses, but the vulnerability of baby elephants makes their plight urgent. As these young animals are highly susceptible to injury, disease and death due to the crushing stress of circus life, we’re making a special appeal on their behalf.