Bridgeport, Connecticut was once the home of P.T. Barnum and his famous circus. His local popularity was so great that he even served as mayor. To this day, the city has a Barnum Avenue and Barnum Museum.

Bridgeport also has a local paper, the Connecticut Post, which recently questioned the practices of the still-going Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. In an editorial, Hugh S. Bailey came out against the circus’s archaic use of elephants in its so-called acts: “Performing elephants should have long since gone the way of the circus freak show,” he wrote. “It’s something future generations will look back on in embarrassment.”

Citing photos circulated by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals showing elephants — even baby elephants — being subjected to a variety of abuse, Bailey is amazed that the circus “defends pictures of baby elephants with ropes around their limbs, prodded with sharp hooks and wrestled into unnatural positions. All part of the training process, they say.”

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has a long history of abusing animals, especially elephants. At least 26 of the circus’s elephants, including four babies, have died since 1996. The USDA has repeatedly cited the circus for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, such as failing to treat elephants for tuberculosis. Tell the USDA to put an end to the abuse by removing the elephants from the circus and placing them in sanctuaries.

Hugh Bailey’s editorial couldn’t come at a better time. The circus will be visiting Bridgeport from October 21st through the 24th. Part of the cruelty-fest includes an “Elephant Parade,” in which elephants and other enslaved animals are subjected to a forced march through the town. Bailey speaks for those who truly care about animals when he concludes, “the circus comes around once a year … Let this be the last time it brings the elephants to town.”

Photo Credit: PETA