VIDEO: Elderly Elephant Viola Flees Her Circus Abusers, Runs Panicked on City Streets

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2 min read

Shocking video footage from Butte, Montana, reveals that elderly elephant Viola escaped from Jordan World Circus on Tuesday, April 16, and ran panicked on the city’s streets. She had been supplied by Carson & Barnes Circus, which has been cited for more than 100 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

Watch the dramatic elephant escape video now:

In response to this nightmare, PETA has submitted an urgent complaint to federal authorities over the circus’s failure to protect Viola and the public. This elephant’s desperate attempt to flee her weapon-wielding handler endangered many lives. We urge everyone to help protect elephants by refusing to buy a ticket to any circus that forces them to perform.

Our complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture requests that the agency investigate Carson & Barnes, hold it and any other parties responsible for this potentially fatal incident accountable to the fullest extent of the law, and ensure that Viola is thoroughly examined for injuries she may have sustained during her escape and subsequent time on the streets.

Viola the elephant escapes, walking in front of a casino with a red arrow pointing at her

Viola has escaped at least two other times—in 2010 and 2014.

Her latest break for freedom comes after decades of being forced to perform grueling and painful tricks and being abused in other ways at the hands of Carson & Barnes. The circus’s workers were previously caught on video electroshocking elephants and beating them with a sharp steel-tipped weapon called a bullhook.

In 2021, a PETA investigation revealed that Viola was being forced to perform daily despite suffering from chronically swollen feet and signs of other ailments affecting her rear legs.

Elephants learn crucial social and behavioral skills from their mothers and other relatives, with whom they share intense emotional bonds. Instead of experiencing this in their natural homes, elephants used in circuses are exploited and hauled from place to place to perform meaningless circus tricks.

Please politely urge Carson & Barnes to end all cruel animal acts, send the animals to reputable sanctuaries, and highlight consenting human talent instead:

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