Alec Baldwin doesn't want you to go to the circus.
The "30 Rock" star and PETA teamed up to release a four-minute YouTube video asking Americans to boycott the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus because of their allegedly poor treatment of elephants.
The video, released in January but just picking up steam this month, opens with images of elephants in the wild, then segues into video PETA obtained in 2009 during an undercover investigation made by the animal rights group that shows alleged abuse of the animals by their circus handlers.
"Having worked with actors for many years, it's hard for me to believe that anyone would have to be dragged kicking and screaming into show business," Baldwin says in beginning of the video. "But for the elephants with Ringling Brothers, and other circuses, that's exactly what happens."
The footage includes baby elephants being "stretched out" — a process where the elephant’s limbs are tied up individually and pulled at different angles — and handlers prodding the creatures with bull hooks and electric prods.
Mel Richardson, a veterinarian and animal rights activist, is also featured in the piece, saying the initiation of baby elephants into the circus is a breaking of "their spirit.” Some celebs also tweeted their support.
Please do not go to any circus, least of Ringling Bros. RinglingBeatsAnimals.com for info, largest case ever won against circuses for cruelty.— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) January 6, 2012
A spokesman for the circus group, Stephen Payne, responded to the claims made by PETA in an Op-Ed in Friday’s edition of The Baltimore Sun.
"The health and vitality of our animals is something we can showcase at every Ringling Bros. performance," Payne said. "We invite families everywhere to come and see for themselves how all the animals are thriving."
Ringling Bros. has not admitted to any of the allegations of abuse, but its parent company, Feld Entertainment, agreed in November to pay a $270,000 civil penalty to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to settle government claims of violation of the Animal Welfare Act.
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