The American Highway is No Place For Elephants

On Sunday night a semi-truck pulling a trailer of four circus elephants, belonging to Cole Brothers Circus of the Stars, ran off Interstate 10 in south Mississippi.

Local media reports:  Kurt Necaise, incident commander for West Hancock County Fire and Rescue, says three elephants were unloaded while the trailer was unhooked from the damaged truck and pulled back to the interstate, but the fourth was too angry to unload.  Reports say that the driver and elephants were unhurt.

Tim Phillips, ADI Vice President: “It is lucky that the animals nor people appear to have been seriously injured. Although the injuries to a huge, heavy animal like an elephant being thrown around during an accident may not be realized yet, so we will have to see.  Accidents do happen, but if you are carrying dangerous wild animals then the consequences are potentially disastrous.”

“The accident highlights the terrible lives these circus animals lead. Kept for almost the entire year in temporary housing or being transported.  Every week traveling circuses force elephants, tigers, and lions onto the backs of trucks to move them to the next location. As the country’s roads get more congested, some accidents are inevitable. But no other exotic wildlife is transported again and again like this.  It’s a serious welfare issue and if these animals get loose it is very serious for people, too. 

The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act launched in Congress by ADI and the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) would eliminate the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling circuses. 

ADI is asking that the Cole Brothers’ elephants be retired to the PAWS ARK 2000 Sanctuary in California, which specializes in rehabilitating ex-circus elephants.  Phillips adds,  “They’ve done their time on the road give them some sunshine and space to roam for the rest of their lives.”


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Media Contact:            Lori De Waal

                                    De Waal & Associates

323 462 4122

[email protected]


Photographs and video of elephants in circuses available.

ADI has launched a bill in Congress, The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, H.R. 3359 – see

ADI is campaigning for an end to the use of wild animals in traveling circuses in the US. To date, 38 cities and counties have banned or restricted the use of wild performing animals, in 18 states. 

Around the world, hundreds of similar restrictions have been placed in towns and cities in the UK (over 200), in Europe and South America.Over 20 countries have placed national restrictions. 


Background Animal Defenders International

With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing the behind-the-scenes suffering in industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world, educates the public on animals and environmental issues. 



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