What might be exciting to one can seem terrifying to another—think public speaking, skydiving, and rock climbing. However, it's safe to assume that Lima, the 12-year-old zebra who bolted from Ringling trainers and ran amok for 40 minutes in Atlanta yesterday, was terrified—not merely, as a Ringling spokesperson said, "excited." Police eventually cornered the frightened animal on the on-ramp of a busy interstate, but not before he suffered cuts on his hooves, as Ringling's spokesperson noted.
There have been numerous instances in which zebras from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus have broken free from their handlers or escaped from their enclosures (see page 10). In fact, we believe that Ringling's recurring problem with zebras running loose in dangerous traffic situations is a violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act, and we're calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure that Lima is receiving adequate veterinary care for his injuries. We're also requesting that the agency remove Lima and all other zebras from Ringling's traveling shows.
This latest escape attempt comes less than two weeks after a Ringling elephant ran amok in Columbia, South Carolina. Considering that Ringling employees have been caught on tape beating animals and depriving them of their basic needs, it's really no surprise that animals grab any chance to try to escape the miserable and almost constant confinement, painful punishments, and stressful performances.
Posted by Karin Bennett