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VIDEO: Elephants Eat Giant Cupcakes

Sarah, the elephant, turns 10.

A crowd of well-wishing children and circus lovers came out Friday for a 10th birthday party for elephant Sarah.

The party was held outside the Patriot Center at George Mason University, where the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is currently showing. Sarah was born at the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in 2001.

Party attendees were entertained with coloring books, clowns from "Clown Alley" and circus treats such as popcorn and animal crackers. The six Asian elephants came out to eat a brunch of hay, apples, carrots, and lettuce. Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson, the first African American and the youngest Ringmaster in the history of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, led a kid's Q&A session with one of the animal trainers answering questions about the elephants.

Georgetown Cupcake owners and sisters Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne provided giant cupcakes for the elephants to eat, Kallinis said she did not think anyone had tried this before.

“We did a taste test on Tuesday with the elephants,” Kallinis said. “We got all the dietary restrictions of what they could and could not have.”

The elephants tried a plain pound cake cupcake with pureed strawberry frosting, a pound cake cupcake with chopped vegetables and pureed pumpkin frosting, a pureed banana and applesauce cupcake with peanut butter frosting and a triple berry poundcake cupcake with a pureed strawberry frosting. The banana-apple and triple berry cupcakes were the most popular with the elephants, their trainers assured the Georgetown Cupcake ladies.

"They didn't like the vegetable one at all,” LaMontagne said. “It was funny."

Kallinis and LaMontagne carried out Sophie’s cupcake, while clowns from Clown Alley brought out the rest for the five other elephants. The elephants ate some of the cupcakes, but seemed to have trouble lifting them.

"They're about 50 pounds each," LaMontagne said. “We think we probably should have sliced them for them – it was hard for their trunks to grab them. Next time we do cupcakes for elephants, we’ll slice them all.”

Georgetown Cupcake also provided smaller cupcakes for the children at the party to decorate. Many of the attendees were part of The Sunshine Kids, an organization that provides group activities and emotional support for children with cancer.

“We provide in-hospital and out of hospital activities for kids with cancer,” said Aubrey De Los Reyes, the activities coordinator for the Sunshine Kids. “We’ve been doing it for about 30 years.”

De Los Reyes said that the group enjoys going to the circus, Disney on Ice shows, and more active pursuits such as ziplining and tubing.

Georgetown Cupcake is currently selling a Special Edition Barnum200 cupcake in-store with all proceeds going to the Sunshine Kids. Other special cupcakes in store currently benefit the Girl Scouts, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and Save the Children.

Lisa Qualls April 18, 2011 at 01:58 PM
Great PR stunt for ringling. The "Center for Elephant Conservation" is a really nice sounding name for such an ominous place. As we have learned in the 2009 trial for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, Ringling uses that compound to breed and break these animals (see circuses.com). It is where they keep baby elephants tied up for 23 hours at a time in a dark warehouse, while the babies struggle against the ropes the entire time wearing sores into their legs. It is where they have high privacy fences to hide the brutal training that involves beating the babies so severely that commercial bull-hooks were breaking, so ringling had to design their own stronger bull-hook that would not break. During these training sessions the traumatized baby elephants scream the entire time. The point of the bul-hook is as sharp as a knife and it is swung like a baseball bat, and hooked on the most sensitive parts of the elephant's body. So, this "birthday party" was actually not intended to do anything nice for their property (the elephants); it was intended to get ringling some free publicity and trick people into thinking the circus is a fun place. The elephants would much rather have their freedom than a birthday party.
Holly Sternberg April 19, 2011 at 01:02 AM
Please visit CIRCUSES.COM to see the REAL story of how these elephants are treated! Undercover footage of how baby elephants are "broken," not this PR stunt. Elephants are wild animals. People who care about animals should protect the habitat of wild animals and LEAVE THEM ALONE so they can live their lives. Ringling has absolutely no respect for animals. All they care about is money, money, money. Visit CIRCUSES.COM. See for yourself. You won't believe it if you just read it.
Emilio April 19, 2011 at 05:28 AM
Yes please visit www.elephantcenter.com to see how Ringling Bros. really treats these animals. Look at how these "poor elephants" are treated. See how Ringling Bros. spends nearly $70,000 annually on each pachyderm in their care, just to "harm them." You animal rights folks need to give up your religion of nonsense.
Emilio April 19, 2011 at 05:31 AM
My family and I loved this show and attended this event. If those elephants are abused, then I'm Martian. I almost felt ashamed as a parent. I haven't a doubt that those beautiful creatures are better off than the average American child.
Tony April 19, 2011 at 12:01 PM
Hey Emilio, I am glad you enjoyed the show. But the website you referenced above is really a PR front to what is a breeding facility. For their business to continue they need more elephants and so they have this facility. If it was really an elephant conservation facility they would be trying to return elephants to their natural environment. Of course Ringling do not intentionally set out to harm the elephants, after all a dead elephant or sick elephant is not going to make them money. But that doesn't mean they care for them appropriately. They paid out 20,000 to the USDA admitting that they didn't provide veterinary care to a baby elephant (which subsequently died). This is a picture taken of one of the ways they train the elephants: http://www.mediapeta.com/peta/galleries/issues_usedForEntertainment/600-14.jpg Do you really consider that to be appropriate? Not only are the training methods based cruel, but what do you think the elephant does all day when they are not in the ring? In their natural environment it can roam up to 20 miles per day. In the Circus? They are literally imprisoned 23 hours out of every day and even more when the circus travels? Is this really "better off than the average American child"? If you don't believe what you are hearing here, read why not read what Ringling themselves have said they do under oath? http://www.compassion4animals.org/docs/ringling-trial-testimony.pdf I hope you take the time to read some objective material on this matter
Tony April 19, 2011 at 12:02 PM
Hi Emillio, please read my reply below. Thanks.
Lisa Qualls April 19, 2011 at 06:43 PM
Emilio, your guilty conscience makes you eager to believe the lies Ringling tells about that "Center for Elephant Conservation". Ringling gets rich off the lies they have you believing. The worst of what they do to the animals is hidden behind high security fences at that center in Florida, where the screams of the babies are out of your hearing range. But you can observe a lot of what is wrong. For you to look at elephants kept in captivitiy and forced to do tricks and claim that is better than most children are treated is preposterous. If a human child was enslaved and carted around the country on display the people responsible would be arrested. Surely you don't actually think most children are treated worse than slaves. I have done quite a lot of research from trust worthy independent sources. You have provided a link to Ringling's PR site. I am 100% confident that the animals used by the entertainment industry are abused and suffering everyday. It is a betrayal of the trust of children to trick them into being a part of that.

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