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.
Written by Jennifer O’Connor