Well it looks like the elephants will remain in the circus, at least for the time being. A federal judge has ruled that the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals does not have the legal standing to sue the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus under the Endangered Species Act. The lawsuit, originally brought by the ASPCA nine years ago, culminated in a six-week trial held without a jury. Tom Rider, the group’s star witness, was a former animal trainer who cared for elephants in one of the circus’s traveling units from 1997 to 1999. According to a report on Bloomberg, “Rider accused Ringling of causing physical, psychological, and behavioral injuries to the elephants by using rods with metal hooks and points to control their movement and chains to keep them in place on hard surfaces for extended periods.” The judge ultimately ruled that Rider’s testimony was not credible, as he was repeatedly impeached on the stand and had lied about payments he received from various animal-rights groups beginning in 2000. During the trial, Feld Entertainment, which owns Ringling Brothers, said that these things didn’t hurt the elephants, and that they were necessary measures to control them and ensure public safety. Not knowing all the facts of the case, I can’t accurately judge all the legality of what did and what didn’t go down with these pachyderms, but prodding at them with sharp metal hooks and keeping them in chains just doesn’t sound right. These animals have amazing memories and, if they are left alone and are healthy, they can live for between 50 and 70 years. Chaining them for human entertainment in this day and age isn’t necessary. Don’t go to the circus, go watch the Discovery Channel people!
Or, better yet, listen to the new single “Elephants” by LA-band Warpaint. Warpaint, founded in 2007, just released their first EP, Exquisite Corpse through Manimal Vinyl in October, 2009. Exquisite Corpse, mixed by John Frusciante (formerly of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), highlights the band’s sonic textures, jagged rhythms, and ethereal voices. Shortly after performing at the 2009 CMJ Festival, Warpaint wad signed to Rough Trade Records. The band has temporarily moved to Portland, Oregon, for the recording of their new album to be released by Rough Trade in late Spring, 2010.
Warpaint – Elephants:
P.S. Thanks to Matt at The Music Slut for the link to the new video, which just dropped today!