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Ringling Brothers Controversy [PHOTOS]: Circus Company Stirs Controversy On Animal Cruelty With ‘Human Chandelier’ Accident

Travelers Today       By    Althea Serad

Updated: May 11, 2014 02:13 PM EDT

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Ringling Brothers controversy has been making the headlines since the circus caught the attention of the public this month with the 'human chandelier' accident. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus has reportedly been put under the microscope for animal cruelty. According to ABC 6, animal rights activists got fired up over the Ringling Brothers controversy because of their cruel training practices.

Ashley Byrne, a campaign specialist with PETA said, "When the circus comes to town, you can be sure that cruelty comes along with it, because every circus that uses exotic animals uses the threat of pain and intimidation to train them."

Animal trainers at the circus took their stand on the Ringling Brothers controversy and said that the Greatest Show on Earth say that animal safety is their top priority. Joey Frisco, a senior elephant handler with Ringling Brothers said, "That's the most important thing, that the public understands how much we care about them. Our smallest elephant here... April, she's about 3000 lbs, I don't know if anybody's ever had a 3000 lbs dog or anything but you're not going to make any kind of animal do anything they don't want to do."

To share their knowledge and educate the public regarding the Ringling Brothers controversy, PETA protesters have handed out fliers and DVDs with content of what they believe is evidence. This evidence reportedly shows ringling trainers using bull hooks, long sticks with metal ends as punishment tools in training.

Byrne added, "Bull hooks serve only two purposes, to inflict pain, and to inflict the fear of pain."

Meanwhile, a bill in the Rhode Island legislature that could possibly help in addressing animal cruelty and the Ringling Brothers controversy is pending. According to ABC 6, the bill would outlaw the use of bull hooks in the state. However, Ringling said there wouldn't be much of a change even if the bill is passed. The tools are only used to guide the animals during training, they said.

Frisco said , "Every animal that we have here, the elephants, the big cats, the horses, all the way down to our small dogs, the trainer is the best at what they do and animal care is always number one."

The USDA reportedly monitors circuses which adhere to strict rules under the Animal Welfare Act. ABC 6 reports that no issues were found when records were looked up during their last routine inspection in December.

The Ringling Brothers controversy pro-bullhook campaign was again put under the spotlight after the circus' latest faux pas concerning the safety of their performers.

The "human chandelier" fell 25 to 40 feet in front of 3,900 spectators after a clamp snapped, says Take Part. Because of the accident, some performers had broken bones, with two acrobats still in critical condition on Monday morning.

Spokesman for Feld Entertainment, Ringling Bros.' parent company Stephen Payne told the Associated Press, "We want to make sure all of our performers are safe. An accident like this is unprecedented involving this number of performers."

In response to the Ringling Brothers controversy on animal cruelty, Payne spoke out against the bull hook ban. He said the decision was "unsupported by any evidence or proof of elephant abuse in Los Angeles," and "it will deprive families of the right to take their children to see live animals at the circus."

However, apart from getting abuse, animals also reportedly suffer from accidents. A Ringling Bros. exposé titled "The Cruelest Show on Earth" by Mother Jones' Deborah Nelson told the story of a fatal accident in 2004 which involved an eight-month-old elephant. According to Take Part, the elephant had to be euthanized after breaking two legs during a training exercise.

Ringling Brothers controversy still remains to be addressed. Though the Ringling Bros. have remained true to its traditions, some of its competitors have reportedly revamped their shows. These include the Big Apple Circus which now only work with domesticated animals. Cirque du Soleil's big tent also doesn't feature animals at all, says Take Part.  

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

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Ringling Bros. , Ringling Brothers controversy , world news , circus , ringling bros. and barnum & bailey circus , Ringling Bros. , Ringling Brothers accident , Ringling Brothers circus , Ringling Brother , Ringling Brothers
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