Take Sick Circus Elephants Off the Road

Target: Dr. Gregory Parham, Administrator of the USDA’s Animals and Plant Health Inspection Service

Goal: Prevent TB-infected elephants from traveling with circuses.

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the few diseases that can be easily transmitted between humans and elephants. In fact, direct contact with a TB-infected elephant is not even necessary for transmission of TB to humans, and recently, a TB-infected elephant was linked to an outbreak among nine humans, some of whom had no direct contact with the elephant.

Unfortunately, these TB-infected elephants are still forced to travel and perform with circuses by the companies who keep them, risking not only the elephant’s life and health, but the life and health of human patrons. Elephants are forced to perform even when they are too sick, and most circus elephants have very poor veterinary care and are left to suffer.

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), who is responsible for adopting and implementing new regulations to protect animals, released guidelines that include testing requirements, restrictions on transporting TB-positive elephants, and recommendations for the elimination or restriction of the public’s access to TB-infected elephants, but has yet to adopt these standards. TB-positive elephants continue to cross the US, possibly risking transmission among other humans and elephants. The United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) has even recommended increasing precautions regarding TB-infected elephants, but the USDA has failed to adopt any of their recommendations.

By signing the petition below, you are asking the USDA to protect public health and animal welfare by adopting the USAHA’s recommendations and guideline on TB-infected elephants, and force circuses to remove TB-infected elephants from the road.


Dear Dr. Gregory Parham,

The USDA has continuously failed to adopt the United States Animal Health Association’s recommendations and updated guidelines on tuberculosis-infected elephants in circuses and other public arenas. TB-infected elephants not only put other uninfected elephants at risk, they also put unsuspecting humans at risk. Humans don’t even need to have direct contact with the TB-infected elephant to contract TB. Recently, a TB outbreak of nine humans was linked back to a TB-infected elephant.

By allowing TB-infected elephants to continue to perform, the USDA is risking an even larger outbreak of TB among humans and animals. The USDA is also doing elephants and animal welfare a great disservice by allowing circuses, who are not known for their attention to quality veterinary care, to force sick elephants to perform. As you may well be aware, a circus is not any place for an elephant, and forcing a sick elephant to perform is even crueler than keeping it in captivity.

I am asking to you adopt the USAHA’s guidelines on TB-infected elephants, and make sure that these elephants are not only taken off the road, but given quality veterinarian care. Don’t risk an outbreak of TB among humans.

[Your Name Here]

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  1. Stop using animals in circuses!!!!!!!!!

  2. Giana Peranio-Paz says:

    This beautiful sensitive sweet animals must stop being used in circuses! Their living habitats are confining and abusive!! Please stop abusing these animals!! Change your policies and laws!

  3. Elephants are intelligent,sensitive creatures;it is obscene to imprison them,and force them to perform demeaning tricks for our amusement(often the “training”methods used to teach elephants these tricks are inhumane and physically painfull).Read Cleveland Amory’s”Ranch of Dreams”for a heartbreaking account of how elephants are “trained”(suffice it to say that these animals are starved,deprived of water,and rest.They are beaten,whipped,chained,and poked with sharp sticks; instruments are poked into bodily orifices;cattle prods deliver shocks to “correct”their behaviour.A harness,used with a block and tackle device is used to jerk elephants front legs off the ground;(to “teach”him/her to stand on his hind legs);is it any wonder elephants sometimes do rebell against their trainers(and any unfortunate person who crosses their path during their rage?Deaths from attacks by desperate(and probably abused)”rogue”elephants is more common than those who profit from their misery would have us think(see pgs.263-6(the “death-list”in Amory’s book)
    Now we find that seriously ill(and contagious)Tuberculous-infected elephants are being forced to tour in circuses for ‘entertainment”purposes.
    Doesn’t THIS cast a lovely light on that family trip to the circus?If the poor tortured,abused elephants don’t go beserk,and rampage through the audience,theres still the risk of getting TB! (Maybe even drug-resistant TB!!) Oh,Joy!!Popcorn,anyone?-or did you,like me,lose your appetite?

    Since those who profit from these poor souls’ misery have NO shame,and zero concern for the lives of their animals(or for the lives of rubes like us),we must enact legislation to protect all of us from their greed and cruelity.

  4. I cant help wondering why we even need circuses. They should be outlawed. Circuses are profiteering on the backs of animals that shouldnt even be in captivity!

    BAN CIRCUSES. Prosecute this one for animal cruelty.

  5. Daniela Bress says:

    No animals for stupid human amusement, at all. No circus animals, no dolphins and orcas in little bath tubes playing silly ballgames, no dancing bears, etc. – we’re really the most stupid creature that ever walked the earth!

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