If you know much at all about elephants, you know they are remarkably intelligent and emotional creatures. And if you know much about circuses that use elephants, you should be disturbed by how they are treated. To put a stop to the practice, Alec Baldwin has teamed up with Peta to call for a boycott against the Ringling Bros. circus, one of the worst offenders.
It's no secret that circuses treat captive animals poorly, and a lot of progress has been made in banning the practice. The United Kingdom and China have laws against using animals in circuses, but it's still legal in the United States.
Last November, Ringling Bros. settled a USDA lawsuit for animal cruelty for $270,000. A 2009 Peta video showed the circus' handlers beating the elephants with bullhooks around the ears, chin and face before they were sent on stage to perform.
Baldwin explains how young elephants are separated from their mothers and forced into lives of submission and captivity. Cramped living conditions lead to foot problems and arthritis, which often lead to the animals being euthanized.
The video is hard to watch; it includes footage of trainers abusing the elephants. At one point, a trainer tells a subordinate to "make 'em scream!" But after watching it, you're unlikely ever to see a circus performance the same way, which is a good thing.