Sarah — a 54-year-old Asian elephant performer in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus with a known history of poor health — was filmed by animal rights activists collapsing onto her side as she boarded her boxcar after a performance in Anaheim, Ca.
Animal Defenders International, who shot footage of the tumble, is calling for Sarah to be pulled out of the circus and given immediate medical attention. They cite a veterinarian test that found [warning: gross ahead] "high white blood count levels and evidence of frequent vaginal discharge."
Sarah has also long been a target of PETA, who had two independent veterinarians analyze footage of Ringling's elephant walk during their opening night performance in Los Angeles. They concluded that one elephant was "clinically lame to the point of being crippled. Her condition is painful and she should not be performing" and another elephant with "a lump on [her] left upper leg demonstrates obvious pelvic lameness."
Ringling Bros. released a statement, in which they maintained that Sarah is perfectly fine. She just tripped!
"The facts are, following the final show in Anaheim, Calif., Sarah escorted by her handlers up the loading ramp into the elephant train car when she shifted her position, backing down the ramp, causing her to lose her balance, where she kneeled and rolled down the ramp onto the ground...It took approximately ten minutes for her handlers to allow Sarah to reposition herself and stand on her own, which she did."