We care for our elephants
Payne: "[Our elephants] will never be in danger from poachers and always receive the best veterinary care, a lot of exercise, clean water, plenty of food and room to socialize with their herd."
As recently as December, a USDA report showed that Ringling Bros. had left three elephants in boxcars for up to four days, during which they didn't receive necessary veterinary treatment for existing ailments. Ringling Bros.' elephants are also plagued by health issues that are rare in the wild, including chronic foot problems, arthritis and tuberculosis.
In the wild, elephants walk at least several miles per day, and up to 50 miles if they're looking for food. As seen above, Ringling Bros.' elephants rarely get exercise, and sometimes go entire days without getting the chance to stretch their legs.
Elephants are highly emotional and social creatures, and, in the wild, will live in matriarchal herds. Females will stay with their mothers for their entire lives, while males will stay with their mothers until around age 12. Ringling Bros. rips babies away from their mothers at just two years old.
It's natural for elephants to perform in the circus
Payne: "Everything seen in a Ringling Bros. performance is based on the animals' natural behaviors. Elephants do stand on their heads and hind legs, unprompted."
Yes, elephants will sometimes stand on their hind legs to reach branches in the wild. But it's absurd to claim that dressing up an elephant in feathered showgirl hats, carting them across the country in cramped, overheated boxcars, chaining them up when they're not performing and beating them with bullhooks is natural.
Nor is making them stand on their heads repeatedly or climb onto tiny stools to perform. That's precisely why Ringling Bros. refuses to perform in cities that ban bullhooks - because they know the elephants won't perform if they don't force them.