It’s circus entertainment gone wrong when two elephants suddenly turned on the third one, pushing her and making her crash to the ground near the crowd.
Video footage of a performance in Osnabrück, Germany showed an elephant named Tompteusen was shoved into part of the audience by two other elephants as she was carrying a female performer. According to a statement from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the elephant was reportedly injured and suffered a swollen leg.
Circus Krone, the site of the incident, is the country’s largest operating animal circus. Just last month, an elephant named Kenia broke out of one of their shows and had minutes of freedom wandering the streets before being recaptured, PETA noted.
The audience quickly fed their seats to escape the falling elephant, The Independent reported. While nobody suffered serious harm, circus chiefs later revealed that one male spectator obtained cuts on his leg.
The video further showed how circus staff controlled the elephants using bullhooks and a chair. When the elephant got back on her feet, the circus show continued.
The video footage yet again stirred calls for Germany to outlaw the use of wild animals for circuses, arguing that the creatures are being forced to perform with threats of physical punishment while they suffer the effects of being in an unnatural environment.
Wild Animals In Circuses
The United Kingdom already pledged to outlaw the use of wild animals in circus entertainment, with legislation due to take effect in 2020. The same is yet to be done in Germany, where PETA has been condemning practices such as tying up circus elephants for 18 to 20 hours every day and keeping animals in tiny enclosures and other conditions violating animal welfare regulations when they are not on tour.
“In captivity, animals from different regions and families are often mixed into incompatible groups,” explained PETA. “Being forced to perform under the threat of physical punishment adds to their frustration.”
Animal Defenders International was also quick to call on governments around the world to end the practice for entertainment on the grounds of both animal welfare and public safety. Jam Creamer, ADI president, dubbed it “a recipe for disaster,” endangering both people and animals.
Abnormal behavior, ADI warned, can be spotted in these animals, including rocking, swaying, as well as pacing. These are all considered signs of distress and being deprived of their physical and social needs.