Stop Circus Suffering

Elephants in the cold following interstate crash

ADI intervenes after circus animals involved in road accident

Three circus elephants were left out in the cold yesterday evening after their trailer slid off the road and onto the snow-covered verge while traveling along Interstate 70 in Indiana. The elephants were offloaded and stood huddled on the Interstate while their trailer was moved back onto the road. The elephants were reportedly not injured in the crash (http://bit.ly/WCHZGM) The incident was just four miles from a multi-vehicle accident on 1-70.

Animal Defenders International has confirmed that the elephants involved in the crash belong to the Hanneford Circus. ADI has spoken to the circus and also to the local Humane Officer requesting that the elephants receive a veterinary inspection to ensure that they have not been injured. ADI has serious concerns that such large heavy animals will have been under considerable strain being chained in the back of a truck that skidded off the road and injuries may not be immediately apparent.

ADI is dismayed that yet another road accident involving elephants has taken place less than four months after a semi-truck towing a trailer of four elephants belonging to Cole Brothers Circus of the Stars ran off Interstate 10 in south Mississippi. At the time it was stated that three of the elephants were unloaded while the trailer was unhooked from the damaged truck and pulled back to the interstate, however the fourth elephant was reportedly “too angry” to unload. Both the driver and elephants were apparently unhurt in the incident (http://fxn.ws/UJ6TEa). A month later, a UniverSoul Circus trailer crashed in Georgia containing llamas, zebras and camels.

At the time, Tim Phillips, ADI Vice President commented: “It is lucky that no animals, nor people, appear to have been seriously injured. However, the injuries to a huge, heavy animal like an elephant being thrown around a metal container during an accident may not be realized yet, we will have to see. Accidents do happen, but when circuses are moving dangerous wild animals to different locations every week, whatever the weather, then you are dramatically increasing the chances of a problem.”

Phillips, who has overseen the international relocation of lions, tigers and primates around the world, reacted to this latest incident, saying: “You need to be incredibly careful when moving wild animals. If, like a travelling circus, you are moving them on very regular basis, with a lot of other pressures such as dismantling and preparing the next circus site, then you are asking for trouble. It is disturbing that we have had three potentially fatal accidents take place within months of each other. Next time the animals might not be so lucky. Let’s try and keep wildlife off the road as much as possible.”

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