UPDATE: Train Arrives Early, Elephants Walk Without Supervision

Brian Kelly

ST. LOUIS (KMOX)-The St. Louis Health Director has some questions about how the Barnum and Bailey Circus conducted its elephant walk from the circus train to the Scottrade Center Wednesday.

Pam Walker says when the train came in at around midnight, 12 hours earlier than scheduled, she told circus officials to go ahead and walk the elephants right away, so they wouldn’t be stuck on the train for hours. Walker thought that’s what they would do. But she found out Wednesday evening that the elephants were actually walked to the Scottrade Center at 8 am.

Walker says, “I will contact the organizers and make it clear that in the future I expect the train to arrive and be coordinated with us so we can observe the unloading and the walking of the animals. And I do not expect this to occur in future years.”

Walker says rather than anything sinister, she believes the confusion was due to a lack of communication.

She says Thursday morning a Zoo veterinarian will join her staff to check over all 8 elephants and issue a report to her.

Walker says animal control officers will check on the elephants after each show, “We will have animal control officers there on a daily basis, until after the last show and the elephants are bedded down, to assure that we witness how they’re treated and how they’re cared for.”

She says they pay special attention to the elephants over other animals, because they are required to do things that aren’t natural for them.

Walker says in the three years the department’s been supervising the circus, they’ve seen no signs of abuse or neglect.

The circus is in town through Sunday.

Copyright KMOX Radio

  • Stacy Davis

    If an elephant is required to do things that are not natural for them, then isn’t that a form of abuse? What about standing in small confined spaces for long periods of time; like a rail car until they get to the next town? Have these inspectors been to the training facilities where bull hooks and electric prods are used to get these large animals to learn the un-natural tricks they are forced to perform? Why do you suppose Elephants are so reactive to the bull hooks even tho you don’t see them hit with one? All abuse takes place in the dark when nobody is watching. Anything other than freedom in a wide open space is inhumane for an elephant. If your entertainment comes from the misery of another creature, then you shouldn’t contribute by paying for a ticket to this circus or any circus..

  • clm

    Ms. Walker also needs to get a neutral third part Vet to help inspect the elephants, not a St. Louis Zoo vet.

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