Tag: ringling bros

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Coming to Town for One Last Visit

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Photo via Ringling Bros

 

The elephants made their final visit last year. Now, the rest of the performers are saying goodbye.

The Circus Fires Back at Jada Pinkett Smith

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In response to a letter the actress sent to Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, asking her to ensure that Ringling Bros. refrain from the use of bullhooks to prod their circus elephants at their upcoming Baltimore performance, a spokesperson for the circus fired back at Jada Pinkett Smith, saying, “She doesn’t know the first thing about elephants or about how to take care of them.” In his opinion Pinkett Smith is being “misled” by PETA, the organization that distributed the letter. He invited the star to visit the elephants to see first-hand that the elephants are treated humanely, and not harmed by their handlers as her letter alleges.

But it’s really probably a more fundamental ethical rift. Which is to say, though the focus is on the billhooks, PETA (and, apparently Jada Pinkett Smith) views the involuntary servitude of these elephants as inherently unethical. So Pinkett Smith could show up to the circus to find the elephants in La-Z-Boys watching a Desperate Housewives marathon while their handlers fed them peeled grapes, and it probably wouldn’t change her attitude toward the use of wild animals in circus performances. It’s this basic difference of opinion regarding man’s rights over animals that keeps people on either side of the issue feeling like the opposition is out of its mind. On the other hand, it’s also what keeps us knee-deep in hot, nude PETA ads.

Jada Pinkett Smith Writes a Letter to Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

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On Tuesday, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake received a letter from Jada Pinkett Smith. How exciting that would have been for her, had it not been an open letter all about elephants. The Baltimore native and actress called on the mayor to ensure that the city’s law forbidding the use of any “mechanical, electrical, or manual device that is likely to cause physical injury or suffering” on a performing animal be upheld during the Ringling Bros. Circus’s performance at 1st Mariner Arena. Specifically, Pinkett Smith is seeking to ensure that bullhooks not be used to prod circus elephants.

How funny. I was in the middle of writing my own open letter to the mayor demanding that she make sure Ringling Bros. not charge too much for oversalted popcorn and soda that is mostly ice. But Jada’s right — this is more important.

Pinkett Smith’s letter, distributed by PETA, claimed that not only are these elephants poked with painful bullhooks, but that several of them suffer from arthritis and yet are scheduled to perform in Baltimore.

It’s unclear how Rawlings-Blake will respond to the letter. According to The Sun, she is a big fan of the circus and even played “a ceremonial role” when Ringling Bros. came to the city in 2010.

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