May 9, 2015
Sam Haddock was an elephant handler who worked at Ringling’s Center for Elephant Conservation (breeding and training center) in Polk City, Florida, off and on between 1997 and 2005. Mr. Haddock was himself heavily involved in training baby elephants at Ringling and came to regret his career choice later in life. He provided PETA with these never-before-seen photos to share with the public and help elephants.
His circus career began with Ringling in the 1970s as an elephant trainer. In 1978, he left the circus and was diagnosed with active tuberculosis (TB) a few weeks later. He believed that he had contracted this deadly disease from the elephants, who were being treated for TB. Some 30 years later, elephants at Ringling are still becoming infected with and dying from TB.
When Mr. Haddock first contacted PETA, he described the violence and unimaginable cruelty inflicted on baby elephants and said that he had the shocking photos to prove it.
Mr. Haddock’s late wife had urged him to do the right thing and expose Ringling’s torturous treatment of elephants at its so-called “conservation center.” A short time after providing PETA with dozens of disturbing images and a statement detailing how baby elephants are bound with ropes to break their spirits, Mr. Haddock himself passed away following a sudden illness. Read Sam’s complete statement here.