"Failing to treat elephants for medical conditions is appalling, and doing so because these elephants were locked in boxcars for days at a time would be doubly cruel and illegal," PETA Foundation's deputy general counsel Delcianna Winders wrote in a statement. "PETA is calling on the authorities to hold Ringling accountable for breaking federal law again-and on families to stay far away from this despicable circus."
The group alleges that the confinement violates the Twenty-Eight Hour Law, which prohibits confining animals for such prolonged periods.
Steve Payne, a spokesperson for Feld Entertainment, Inc., the parent company of Ringling, told The Dodo that the company denies the allegations.
"There were multiple stops on the trip to Orlando," he said, adding that an attendant rides along with the elephants in the car when they travel. "When in orlando they were examined by veterinary staff and found to be healthy."
Payne also said that the USDA findings were due to a lapse in medical record-keeping, which the company is planning to fix.