American Eagle Outfitters has become the latest company to make the compassionate decision to stop promoting animal abuse. Following a request from PETA, the popular clothing company has pulled from its shelves a T-shirt featuring a picture of an elephant performing a circus trick.
In circuses, trainers abuse tigers, bears, elephants, and other animals daily and force them to perform stupid tricks for “entertainment.” Elephants are repeatedly beaten with bullhooks—sharp instruments that resemble a fireplace poker—sometimes until they bleed, in order to force them to perform dangerous, uncomfortable tricks, such as the one featured on the T-shirt.
More and more companies like American Eagle are realizing that bears, elephants, tigers, and other animals do not voluntarily ride bicycles, stand on their heads, balance on balls, or jump through rings of fire. Animals don’t perform these and other difficult tricks because they want to—they perform because they’re afraid of what will happen if they don’t.
In its decision to pull the shirts, American Eagle stated that the company opposes the inhumane treatment of animals and does not tolerate cruelty to animals in the design, manufacturing, or testing of its products.
Other companies, including Burger King, Denny’s, MasterCard, and Sears, also ended their circus promotions and sponsorships after learning that animals used in circuses are hauled from city to city in cramped boxcars or trailers and beaten in order to get them to perform on cue. In 2006, Lucky Brand Jeans pulled 20,000 Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus logo T-shirts from its shelves after learning about the abuses that animals endure in the circus.
To thank American Eagle for its decision to put kindness above profit, PETA has sent the company a box of vegan chocolate elephants.