July 11, 2012

Petition for Truth. ~ Melody Hodges


Elephants are amazing.

Oh, wait. If you’re a fan of elephant journal, you already know this.

You already know that elephants live in cooperative family groups, working together to make decisions, defend themselves, raise their young and find food, water and shelter. You already know that elephants, like people, form complex relationships, often developing friendships that last a lifetime.

You already know that elephants are known to walk up to 25 miles a day to forage for fresh vegetation and water. You already know that even though the skin of an elephant is about an inch thick, it is still extremely sensitive.

Of course, you already know that elephants have large brains, which enable them to communicate through a range of vocalizations, develop sophisticated social and ecological knowledge and retain detailed memories which make them vulnerable to stress, trauma and long-term psychological consequences.

But that’s us. We know these things.

Maybe we know these things because we love elephants, or maybe we love elephants because we know these things. Either way, elephants are amazing.

Many people, however, don’t know all of these wonderful facts about elephants, nor do they know the not-so-wonderful facts about elephants.

They don’t know that elephants are sometimes abused. They don’t know that elephants are violently captured from the wild, or brutally dragged from their mothers after being bred in captivity.

They don’t know that elephants are bound for great periods of time to break their spirits. They don’t know that elephants are beaten with bull hooks on their sensitive skin to learn unnatural stunts. They don’t know that elephants are forced into cramped containers and transported in extreme temperatures.

They don’t know that elephants do not enjoy performing dangerous tricks for the fleeting entertainment of circus-goers.

The general public doesn’t know these facts, because Ringling Bros. Circus, and other circuses that use animals for entertainment, don’t want them to know.

They pay massive amounts for advertising and media coverage in the towns they visit. Local news stations not only run glowing stories about the circus shows, but they also hold ticket-give-away contests and other promotions. Special features during midday shows, in newspaper columns and on news broadcasts portray the circus as good, clean family fun. It makes me wonder: do they know?

People deserve to know the truth.

News stations have a responsibility for investigating and reporting with integrity. At the very least, they have the obligation to disclose the source of funding for their bias news segments. That’s why this petition, “Attention News Media: Stop Promoting Ringling Bros. Circus and Start Reporting the Truth,” was created.

We ask you to please sign and widely share this petition to help put our news stations on notice.




“Elephants Are Socially Complex.” Elephant Voices, June 18, 2009, WEB July 5, 2012.

Nelson, Deborah, “The Cruelest Show on Earth.” Mother Jones, November/December 2011 Issue, WEB July 3, 2012.

“The Amazing World of Elephants.” Wildly Wise Adventures, WEB July 5, 2012.


Born and raised in a small town in Wyoming, Melody Hodges moved to Las Vegas, Nevada to complete a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in Education. She currently lives with her husband in Phoenix, Arizona. When Melody is not hiking or working with her gifted students, she is advocating for animals. She is the co-organizer of Peaks for Pigs, an annual fundraiser in support of Ironwood Pig Sanctuary, and she is an active member of Animal Advocates of Arizona.


Editor: Thaddeus Haas

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