Written by Jeff Mackey
PETA has fired off a letter urging Circus World in Baraboo, Wisconsin, to ban elephant exhibitions following news reports that the museum brought in four elephants—one of whom had recently been exposed to a tuberculosis-positive elephant. The elephants were supplied by the notorious Carson & Barnes Circus, which did not have permits to take the animals into the state. Wisconsin requires import permits for exotic animals and prohibits transporting animals who may carry communicable diseases as well as all public contact with such animals.
Not only do many elephants carry the human strain of tuberculosis, contrary to Carson & Barnes' misinformation and as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they also can easily transmit it to humans, even without direct contact. For example, tuberculosis carried by an elephant was recently linked to an outbreak in Tennessee among nine humans, some of whom had had no direct contact with the elephant. Elephants used in traveling exhibits like those going to Circus World are particularly at risk—the stress of traveling and performing make them more susceptible to the disease and more likely to develop a severe infection.
In addition to its total disregard for public health and state law, Carson & Barnes has a long history of violating the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). In late September, it paid a penalty for 10 violations of the AWA, including endangering the public and elephants. Carson & Barnes' "animal care" director was caught on video viciously attacking elephants with a bullhook, shocking elephants with an electric prod, and instructing trainers to embed sharp metal hooks into the elephants' flesh until the animals screamed in pain.
Last year, Circus World hosted the Liebel Family Circus, which was recently charged with almost three dozen violations of the AWA.
The charges against Liebel include keeping an elephant named Nosey—who appeared at Circus World—chained so tightly by two legs that she could not lie down and could barely move, repeatedly denying her adequate veterinary care, potentially exposing her to serious infections by allowing manure to accumulate in the overgrown soles of her feet (foot ailments are the leading reason why captive elephants are euthanized), and repeatedly allowing unsupervised public contact with Nosey, who once hit a Liebel employee on the back of the head so severely that he required hospital treatment for the injury.
Abuse is the rule, not the exception, when it comes to forcing elephants to perform tricks, and elephants pose an inherent threat to human safety and health—from both disease and dangerous outbursts because of prolonged frustration. That's why more and more cities are prohibiting or limiting circuses with exotic-animal acts, including nearby Dane County (which includes Madison), where an ordinance prohibiting elephant exhibits was recently passed.
Circus World needs to get with the times and consign human endangerment and cruelty to animals to the scrapheap of history. Because our pleas to Circus World Executive Director Steve Freese have been ignored, please join PETA in calling on Ellen Langill, president of the Wisconsin Historical Society Board of Curators—which owns Circus World—to stop exhibiting elephants.
Written by PETA
UPDATE: After receiving a complaint from PETA about the incident below, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited the exhibitor who provided the tiger to UniverSoul for handling the tiger in a manner that caused her stress and unnecessary discomfort. The exhibitor was also cited for failing to maintain the tiger's enclosure in a manner that would protect her from injury.
This is not the first time that this exhibitor has violated federal law. In 2008, he was ordered to pay a $6,000 penalty after two tigers escaped while touring with UniverSoul. In the past year, he has been cited for failing to provide big cats with a proper diet and feeding big cats unsafely handled meat.
Video footage of a tiger traveling with the UniverSoul Circus showing his foot trapped beneath the sliding door to his cage has prompted PETA to fire off a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Indianapolis Animal Care & Control asking for an immediate investigation into the animal's condition. The video shows the tiger struggling to free his foot, panting, and in obvious distress.
UniverSoul rents its animal acts from exhibitors who have dismal records of animal care. The USDA has repeatedly cited UniverSoul's animal exhibitors for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including failure to provide veterinary care, medical records, and adequate space. Undercover video footage shows one exhibitor UniverSoul has used—Tim Frisco of the Carson & Barnes Circus—viciously attacking elephants with a bullhook as they scream in pain. The circus has also had at least three tiger escapes.
Please tell the USDA that you expect it to take immediate action to assess this tiger's condition.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
It's official: The Carson & Barnes Circus puts people and animals at risk. Coming on the heels of three complaints that PETA filed about the circus's dangerous animal-handling methods, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited the circus for handling elephants in a cruel and dangerous manner. In one instance, a handler answered his cell phone and walked away even though an adult and six children were riding on an elephant's back.
The inspector also noted that a handler with no elephant experience repeatedly used "excessive force while tugging at the elephant [Viola] with" a bullhook. The report also notes "many instances" in which elephants who were being used for rides were not under the direct control and supervision of a handler, creating a "risk of serious injury to members of the public." Carson & Barnes was cited for not having a sufficient distance and/or an appropriate barrier between the elephants and members of the public, making it possible for a spectator to grab an elephant's trunk.
Please never buy a ticket to any circus that uses animals. And if you've already made the mistake of buying a ticket to the Carson & Barnes Circus, you may be entitled to a refund.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
Despite undercover footage of Ringling and Carson & Barnes Circus showing that they treat animals cruelly, both circuses are still trying to deceive people to keep their sales alive. PETA knows that these circuses hurt elephants, and we want to force them to come clean.
We believe that both of these big-top bullies are illegally deceiving the public and must give refunds and monetary restitution to people who were tricked into purchasing tickets, only to be horrified when they learned the truth about what their money supported. So if you or someone you know is a California resident who bought a ticket for one of these shows and would like a refund, call us today at 757-373-0968.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
As I'm sure many of you are aware, circuses that use elephants and big cats in their acts are not on PETA's approved list! Circuses—including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, for instance—use aggression, violence, and confinement to "train" elephants to perform asinine tricks. This often results in pain, suffering, and trauma. Some elephants go mad, while others become infected with deadly diseases, like a human strain of tuberculosis (TB). Quite a few suffer early deaths. (If this is the first time you're hearing that all is not glitter and glamour for animals in circuses, I think I've got some sad news for you about Santa Claus as well.)
However, while we PETA activists have become well equipped for tackling Ringling's lies to the public about their practices, up from the slimy depths slinks Carson & Barnes Circus.
Let me back up by telling you about Joy. She's from a group of elephants that the Illinois-based Hawthorn Corporation was forced to relinquish because of chronic Animal Welfare Act violations. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the elephants at Hawthorn accounted for 21 percent of known cases of TB in elephants, and it's likely that these elephants are infected with drug-resistant, latent TB. In fact, half of Hawthorn's 22 animal handlers tested positive for TB exposure.
While most of the elephants at Hawthorn went to sanctuaries, we fought the USDA tooth and nail to prevent Joy from going to Carson & Barnes Circus. An overreaction on our part? Heck no! One of our incredible undercover investigators exposed cruelty so vicious that it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. Elephants shocked with electric prods and repeatedly hit with bullhooks become so frightened that they trumpet and recoil from the trainer's vicious attacks.
This is the routine nightmare of elephants in their "care." They're tortured. Yet somehow these depraved animal abusers are still in business and were allowed by the USDA to acquire Joy with the understanding that they'd never use her in their traveling show or for any sort of public contact because the USDA determined that the Hawthorn elephants posed a danger to the national elephant herd and public health.
Then! Less than a year after they got Joy, Carson & Barnes turned right around and submitted a request to the USDA to use her anyway for "educational demonstrations and possibly for elephant rides." Here's the USDA's rather irritated response:
As you might recall, you had several conversations with Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer, Eastern Region Director, Animal Care, in March and April 2005 regarding EAF's [the circus's Endangered Ark Foundation, which is nothing more than a breeding facility to supply Carson & Barnes with more unwilling performers] willingness to be a donee for Joy. In each of those conversations, you, among other things, agreed on behalf of EAF not to allow Joy to travel or be in contact with the public. Therefore, EAF's plan to use Joy for "elephant rides" or any other exhibition that involves public contact or travel would not be acceptable to [the USDA].
Yeah, these carnies really care about the animals, eh? They will stoop so low as to risk the health of Joy, other elephants, and little kids just to make a buck off elephant rides.
Boo-yah! Little C&B thought they run with the big dogs in janky dirty dealings? But remember what we told you the five fingers said to the face? SMACK!
Posted by Missy Lane
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.