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Petitioning Western Regional Director, USDA-APHIS Robert Gibbens and 4 others

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

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.

Letter to
Western Regional Director, USDA-APHIS Robert Gibbens
Deputy Administrator, USDA-APHIS Chester Gipson
Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
and 2 others
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Representative Frank Lucas
I'm writing to ask you to remove Sarah, the elephant that fell on August 6 while being loaded onto a boxcar, from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, and to ensure she receives the veterinary care she needs.

The USDA cited Ringling just two months ago for violating the Animal Welfare Act by neglecting to provide proper veterinary care for this same elephant, who suffers from a chronic infection and high white cell count. The circus is insisting that Sarah is healthy, but her medical records indicate otherwise.

I urge you to step in and stop this sick elephant from performing. Thank you.


Laura Goldman started this petition with a single signature, and now has 14,745 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.