Target: Endre Skjørestad, Chairman of the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway; Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of Norway
Goal: Protect circus elephants from animal abuse
Circus elephants in Norway experience lifelong abuse and bondage. Many of today’s working circus elephants were captured from the wild while very young, separated from their families, and forced into circus training that destroys their bodies and shortens their lives.
According to Inge Sellevag in her article “Baba’s World,” a circus in Germany bought Baba, a female Indian elephant, in 1975. Baba was captured from the wild at age five, according to a European Elephant Group survey. Like other young circus elephants, Baba had to wear white bands around her legs to protect her ankles from the rigors of performing. Joint damage is common among circus elephants, but sometimes these bands are used simply to hide scars gained after years of circus bondage. Several times in the last few years, Baba has knowingly refused to obey commands during performances, leading animal rights advocates to believe that she is rebelling against a lifetime of mistreatment. This month, Baba began her third year at the Norway Cirkus Merano. She is traveling alone with the Cirkus, even though it is widely-known that elephants only thrive in the company of packs.
In 2002, Baba’s close friend Jenny, another circus elephant, collapsed and died in Germany while traveling with Circus Barelli. Jenny suffered from inflammation of the jaw, probably because she was transported around Europe in chains. At her death, she was emaciated and weak. Her elephant friends had clearly been worried about her, refusing to leave her side during veterinary visits. Another elephant traveling on the same tour, an African named Lubni, had a deformed hind leg due to a knee injury she sustained while practicing her circus routine. Before being transported to a zoo, Lubni also lived most of her life in chains, accused of being “too aggressive.”
Ask leaders in Norway to rescue abused circus elephants, transport them to elephant sanctuaries, and demand stricter punishments for those who harm elephants in captivity.
Dear Chairman Skjørestad and Minister Stoltenberg,
Elephant abuse has run rampant in Norwegian circuses over the last several decades. Veterinarians attest to the fact that circus elephants experience injury and rapid joint deterioration from dangerous performance training, scarring and inflammation from being transported in chains, and psychological trauma from traveling alone without an elephant pack so necessary to the species’ mental health.
Baba of Cirkus Merano, an Indian elephant, has lived in bondage for nearly 40 years. Her closest companion, Jenny, collapsed and died while traveling with Circus Barelli in 2002. Lubni, another elephant who traveled with Baba over the years, suffered leg deformity from overzealous training. Baba now travels completely alone, the only elephant in Cirkus Merano, and witnesses say she is disobeying her masters more often now, despite years of training. Animal rights advocates believe this is her way of rebelling against trainers.
Please rescue these troubled creatures from their abusers and send them to animal sanctuaries. I also ask that you enforce stricter punishments on trainers who abuse circus animals.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: AlejandroLinaresGarcia via Wikimedia Commons