Circus elephants were allegedly mistreated by their handlers according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Royal Hanneford Circus is facing consequences for violating an animal welfare law during a show in March of 2014.
“Royal Hanneford Circus encouraged crowd noise that included audience members stomping on metal bleachers, spooking three elephants being led from the arena to their enclosure. Those animals — Kelly, Viola and Isa — briefly got loose on the arena’s lot where vehicles of circus employees and Shriners were parked, according to published reports at the time.”
Two of the circus elephants were injured in the ordeal, one suffering some scrapes, and another had superficial lacerations. This incident, however, wasn’t the only thing that led the feds to make these claims. According to the New York Times, just three weeks after the three elephants got loose, handlers were seen watering the pachyderms in a publicly accessible area, which is also a violation.
“An adult photographed a child standing behind the water-drinking elephants, violating federal regulations mandating sufficient distance or barriers between the animals and the public.”
The circus elephants are still owned by the company, and are still participating in shows as far as the public is aware. The circus is facing some serious sanctions, however. According to the reports, the circus could face up to $10,000 in civil penalties, and could also lose their license — this is something that animal rights activists are hoping for, of course.
“The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ‘is asking families everywhere to stay away from all circuses that use animals,’ Delcianna Winders, the PETA Foundation’s deputy general counsel, said in a statement Thursday reacting to the USDA complaint.”
In recent years, the use of elephants in circus acts has been heavily frowned upon. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, San Francisco’s Board of Governors recently voted to prohibit the use of wild or exotic animals for entertainment purposes. The proposal will undergo one more vote before becoming official.
“San Francisco will be the largest United States city to ban performing animal acts for public entertainment. Animal displays used for educational purposes at zoos and museums would be exempt.”
Many other states in the nation are considering similar proposals. The goal for many is to ensure that these wild animals are not harmed or mistreated, and that they aren’t used inappropriately for the sole purpose of making other people money.
[Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images]