Stop Circus Suffering

ADI acts after sick circus elephant falls

ADI files USDA complaint after Sarah, a sick 54-year old Ringling elephant, falls down & collapses while attempting to climb up the ramp onto the train car.

Sarah the elephant, collapsed. Image © Ameer Sanghvi

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has filed a complaint, calling on the USDA to investigate and retire Sarah, a sick 54-year old elephant at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus after she fell down and collapsed, August 7, while attempting to climb up the ramp onto the train car after leaving the last performance in Anaheim, California.

Pictured above: Sarah the elephant, collapsed.  Image © Ameer Sanghvi.

Ringling Bros. had previously been cited in a recent routine USDA inspection for a “repeat noncompliance” for lack of adequate veterinary care related to Sarah suffering a chronic, inadequately diagnosed condition resulting in pus-like discharge in her urine. In the report, a government inspector noted that staff were not following Ringling’s own senior veterinarian’s treatment regime.

ADI is very concerned that the pain, stress and fatigue from this chronic condition contributed to Sarah’s dangerous collapse in Anaheim, and Sarah needs to be taken off the road immediately, with an appropriate elephant companion for support, so she can be properly rested, evaluated and treated.

Many traveling circus animals are sick and are still forced to perform—and incidents like Sarah’s fall underline the dangers faced by animals chained and caged in this impoverished life on the road. Sarah’s plight has received local, national and international attention, and one eye-witness video has been viewed by more than 94,000 people.

You can view this video and story here on the Los Angeles page of the Huffington Post.

Will you help our campaign to protect elephants from cruelty?
What you can do:
Take action today for elephants.

  • Never attend circuses, movies or other forms of entertainment with animal performers.
  • Educate others with our new Break the Chains leaflet. Contact our Los Angeles office for copies at: 323-935-2234 or
  • Alert ADI when a circus is coming to your town so we can send information and help you educate your community about the suffering of circus animals.
  • Contact your legislators and tell them about Sarah’s plight, and let them know that the country of Peru just made the right choice to ban all exotics from traveling circuses. Politely remind them that it is time for the United States to do the same. You can find your legislators and their contact information here
  • You can also write a letter to the editor of your local paper, describe this tragic incident where Sarah, a sick, 54-year old Ringling Bros. elephant fell and collapsed. Let your community know that Sarah is just one of hundreds of animals, stressed and suffering in US circuses.

Please help us end the abuse of animals. Donate today on our website here!

Photo © Bill Norris/Loma Linda Patch

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