… Ringling has plastered Asheville with billboards and posters promoting the circus. What their publicity does not mention is the violence involved in “the cruelest show on Earth.” Lions, tigers, horses and elephants are trained with whips, electric prods and bullhooks. A bullhook looks like an ax handle with a pointed metal hook on one end. By beating and stabbing the elephants, the trainers can force them to perform tricks. We all know that Asian elephants do not stand on two legs or balance on their heads in the wild.
Former Ringling trainers have exposed the truth behind the big top, and video footage documents the grim reality. Fear—not fun—is the catalyst behind the show. Denny’s, Burger King, Sears, MasterCard, Visa, Ford and other corporations have all dropped their affiliations with Ringling because they know that cruelty is not entertainment.
Ringling says the bullhook is like a leash. Would you use one on your dog?
— Michelle Poindexter