Tell the USDA: Remove the Collapsing Elephant from the Ringling Bros. Circus
  • Petitioned Robert Gibbens

This petition was delivered to:

Western Regional Director, USDA-APHIS
Robert Gibbens
Deputy Administrator, USDA-APHIS
Chester Gipson
Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Tom Vilsack
Sen. Debbie Stabenow
Rep. Frank Lucas

Tell the USDA: Remove the Collapsing Elephant from the Ringling Bros. Circus

    1. Laura Goldman
    2. Petition by

      Laura Goldman

      Torrance, CA

On the night of August 6, as the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus loaded a 53-year-old performing elephant named Sarah onto a boxcar, she fell and collapsed on the ground.

The circus says the fall was accidental, and Sarah is perfectly healthy. In fact, she's never missed a performance.

But just two months ago, the USDA cited Ringling for violating the Animal Welfare Act by failing to treat this same elephant's chronic medical problem, which could be fatal if neglected.

Sarah has a pus-like discharge in her urine, and an elevated white cell count. Ringling maintains it's a just a chronic condition that's of no concern. Per the USDA inspection report, Sarah's handlers did nothing to treat the infection.

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has filed a formal complaint with the USDA, asking for Sarah to be removed from the circus. ADI's Campaign Director, Matt Rossell, said, "Sarah is sick, and the stress and fatigue has likely led to this dangerous fall."

In its own statement, Ringling's parent company criticized ADI's allegations, calling them "not only false but grossly out of context," and accused ADI of manipulating the incident merely to further its agenda.

Last month, Danielle Graham, director of veterinary services for the circus, contended that Sarah was healthy, and the USDA citation was "basically a difference of veterinarian opinions."

In its steadfast insistence that a sick animal is healthy and by forcing Sarah to continue performing, it is clear that Ringling is only interested in making money and has little concern for the elephant’s welfare.

It's time for Sarah to stop being forced to perform handstands and instead get the medical attention she needs. Sign the petition asking members of the USDA and U.S. Congress to have Sarah removed from the circus.

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 12,500 signatures
    2. USDA Fines Ringling Bros Over Treatment of Animals

      Laura Goldman
      Petition Organizer

      The U.S. Department of Agriculture has slapped Feld Entertainment Inc., which produces the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, with a record $270,000 fine for allegedly violating the Animal Welfare Act on several occasions from June 2007 to August 2011.

    3. Reached 10,000 signatures
    4. Moran Bill Would Restrict Use of Circus Animals

      Laura Goldman
      Petition Organizer

      Rep. James P. Moran, Jr. (D-Va.) joined Bob Barker and Jorga Fox in Washington, DC, today to introduce the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, which would restrict the use of some exotic animals by circuses.

    5. Reached 9,000 signatures
    6. PETA Set to Protest Circus Every Day It's in Denver

      Laura Goldman
      Petition Organizer

      PETA will protest Ringling Bros. every day through Oct. 9. "Sarah is coming here tonight, and she collapsed in Anaheim about a month ago as a result of Ringling's treatment," PETA's Matt Bruce said. "She's forced to perform every night despite suffering from a potentially life-threatening arthritis and a raging infection in her vulva that is oozing pus."

    7. Reached 7,000 signatures
    8. Demos starting today at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, OR

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      Join PETA, In Defense of Animals & Portland Animal Defense League for protests starting today @11:45am for media event, then @6:30pm tonight, Fri @ 6:30pm, Sat @10:30am, 2:30pm, 6:30pm and Sunday @noon and 4pm.

    9. Reached 6,000 signatures
    10. Media Event Next Week in San Francisco

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      IDA will be joining PETA for a special pre-show media event prior to opening night in San Francisco.
      Where: Cow Palace, Daly City, 2600 Geneva Ave, Daly City
      When: Thurs, September 1, noon
      More info: Hope Bohanec,

    11. Reached 5,000 signatures
    12. Life with Ringling Bros. elephants is fully charged

      Laura Goldman
      Petition Organizer

      A fluffy interview with Trudy Williams, the manager of animal stewardship for Ringling Bros. Williams happens to be the daughter of the owners of Have Trunk, Will Travel, which is under investigation for abusing elephants.

    13. Reached 4,000 signatures
    14. Reached 2,500 signatures
    15. Reached 2,000 signatures
    16. North California Humane Organizations Call for Circus Boycott

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      The Marin Humane Society, East Bay SPCA, Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA and the Sacramento SPCA have called for a boycott of Ringling Bros., citing animal abuse.

    17. Reached 100 signatures
    18. Ringling Bros. Elephant Collapses in Anaheim

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      Late at night on Sunday, August 6, in Anaheim, Calif., as the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was loading its performing animals onto boxcars, an elephant named Sarah fell from a ramp and collapsed on the ground (video).
      Ringling is...


    Reasons for signing

    • Claire Maddlone ROYAL PALM BEACH, FL
      • almost 2 years ago

      Please send Sarah to the wonderful elephant sanctuary in Tennesse.

    • Cynthia Walker LA VETA, CO
      • almost 2 years ago

      Thank you

    • Ed Ortiz NEWARK, NJ
      • almost 2 years ago

      As humans (and the dominant species on the planet) we have a moral obligation and responsibility NOT to abuse our position: this is a prime example of animal abuse and immorality. This needs stopped immediately!

    • Vivian Dudley FORKS, WA
      • almost 2 years ago

      This hardworking elephant should be retired from the circus and given the necessary medical treatment she needs to be healthy.

      • almost 2 years ago

      This is torture!! And she gets it every day, help her out from there. How can you just look away??


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