Animal Defenders International (ADI) is calling for the end of use of wild animals in traveling circuses. The proposed ban comes after a semi-truck pulling a trailer of four elephants on Sunday night ran off Interstate 10 in south Mississippi. Three of the elephants, which belong to Cole Brothers Circus of the Stars, were unloaded while the trailer was unhooked from the damaged truck. Kurt Necaise, the incident commander for West Hancock County Fire and Rescue, said the fourth was too angry to unload.
Of the accident, Tim Phillips, the Vice President of ADI, said “It is lucky that the animals nor people appear to have been seriously injured. Although the injuries to a huge, heavy animal like an elephant being thrown around during an accident may not be realized yet, so we will have to see.”
Phillips added that the accident “highlights the terrible lives these circus animals lead…no other exotic wildlife is transported again and again like this. It’s a serious welfare issue and if these animals get loose it is very serious for people, too.”
ADI is requesting the elephants be retired to the PAWS ARK 2000 Sanctuary in California, which specializes in rehabilitation ex-circus elephants. “They’ve done their time on the road give them some sunshine and space to roam for the rest of their lives,” Phillips said.
ADI and the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) have launched the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act to eliminate the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling circuses. Thirty-eight cities and counties have banned or restricted the use of wild performing animals, in 18 states, so far.
Written by: Karen Benardello