Tom Rider–Circus whistleblower

Tom Rider–who once worked for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus caring for the elephants, became a whistleblower after witnessing the abuse of the circus’ elephants, and is now a central figure in a federal lawsuit brought against Ringling by multiple animal groups –discusses his two and a half year stint working for Ringling and what he saw and experienced then, addresses the circus’ constant chaining of the elephants, explains what an ankus is and its constant use on the elephants, describes the lawsuit in which the plaintiffs (including Rider himself) focus on Ringling’s mistreatment of the elephants under the Endangered Species Act, responds to listener questions about USDA inspections of Ringling’s animals and about the effectiveness of protests staged at venues where Ringling is performing, and more. []

MORE: Talking Animals Blog about Tom Rider

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COMEDY CORNER: Matt Braunger’s “Owls” (snippet) (

MUSIC: Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers’ “Circus,” Antibalas’ “Elephant” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Henry Mancini’s “Baby Elephant Walk”

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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