Terrific Training For Elephants in Circus

It starts when they take a baby elephant, and tie a rope around its hind leg, and attach it to a stake in the ground. The baby fights and fights, trying to pull the rope free, but it does not have the strength to do so. It continues to try, sometimes for days, expending all its energy, until one day, it stops trying – It has finally learnt that it is unable to pull free. The pictures show them being dragged to the ground by ropes, chained side by side, pinned down by a hook in the back of the neck and checked by cattleprods.

Peta - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - say the elephants are also separated from their mothers by force.

The photographs are being used to spearhead a campaign to tighten up laws on the use of wild beasts in circuses.

The Government here is considering legislation to impose stricter conditions on their care, training and performance, particularly where young are concerned.

The pictures were taken in the U.S. by handler Sammy Haddock, who worked for the Ringling Bros' Barnum and Bailey Circus until 2005. They were taken more than seven years ago - but Peta says such methods are widespread, and 'effectively amount to the torture of defenceless animals'.

Haddock died last month and asked Peta to use his pictures to ease his conscience about the kind of treatment he administered during eight years at the Ringling centre in Florida.

Peta director Poorva Joshipura said: 'All the evidence suggests that the methods described by Sam Haddock are standard operating procedures.'

Ringling's dismisses Peta's claims as 'from the last century' and denies cruelty. It says it separates calves from adults only when they are old enough to demonstrate natural independence.

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