Circus Cancels Elephant Act After PETA Letter

Birch Run Enforces Ban on Possession of Dangerous Animals During Garden Bros. Circus Appearance

For Immediate Release:
May 18, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Birch Run, Mich.

After PETA pointed out that the Village of Birch Run’s ban on possessing dangerous wild animals includes elephants, with no exceptions, village officials notified Garden Bros. Circus of the law in advance of its May 17 performance, noting that violations could be penalized with jail time. Garden Bros. performed without elephants, and PETA is sending village officials a box of elephant-shaped vegan chocolates to thank them for ensuring that elephants weren’t in the ring.

“Elephants exploited by circuses endure a lifetime of chains and beatings after being ‘broken’ as youngsters, and acts using them are now recognized as archaic sideshows from a bygone era,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director Rachel Mathews. “By refusing to allow Garden Bros. Circus to drag its elephant act into Birch Run, the village has done the right thing and, since two of the elephants who were scheduled to be used have a history of running amok, may have prevented these animals and the public from coming to harm.”

The village manager and chief of police had initially planned not to enforce the ordinance—but after PETA highlighted the numerous human deaths and catastrophic injuries that have resulted from dangerous interactions with elephants, officials notified Garden Bros. Circus of the law.

In its correspondence with village officials, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—pointed out that Garden Bros. Circus has an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau. Additionally, the elephants used by Garden Bros., Isa and Viola, have a history of escapes: Isa once escaped from a circus and remained at large for weeks before being recaptured, and Viola once ran off and fell into a ravine. In 2014, both were distressed by audience noise, escaped from a circus performance, and ran amok for nearly an hour.

Birch Run joins many other cities—including Norfolk, Virginia; Minneapolis; Little Falls, Minnesota; and Rio Rancho, New Mexico—and the state of Maine, among others, in requiring Garden Bros. to perform without elephants and other animals.

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