Elephant’s Death Prompts Plea for Survivors’ Retirement

PETA Calls On Carden Family to Allow Elephants to Live Out Their Lives in a Reputable Sanctuary

For Immediate Release:
July 30, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Springfield, Mo.

After just learning that an elephant named Jenny died last year near the end of a grueling tour with Carden International Circus, Inc., PETA sent a letter this morning urging the Springfield-based Carden family to retire Betty, Cindy, Carol, and the other elephants used in its shows to a reputable sanctuary.

“If this poor elephant hadn’t been chained and forced to perform tricks and give rides over and over again, she may have lived another decade or more,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “Many of the surviving elephants still being used by this outfit are showing signs of potentially deadly arthritis, and PETA is urging the Carden family to grant them retirement instead of subjecting them to an early death.”

PETA notes that going elephant-free would be a savvy business decision: In recent years, the Ringling Bros. circus shut down, Kelly Miller Circus went animal-free, New York and Illinois banned traveling elephant acts, and more and more venues and cities across the U.S. prohibit or restrict wild-animal exhibits.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to the Carden family follows.

July 30, 2018

George, Brett, and Larry Carden

Carden Circus International

Dear Messrs. Carden,

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide. We just learned that the elephant Jenny died last year near the end of a grueling tour with the circus. She never got to experience retirement, but there’s still time for your family to do the right thing for the remaining elephants by retiring them now.

Like most other elephants used in traveling acts, Jenny was abducted from her mother and wild home as a baby. She spent the rest of her life forced to endure heavy chains, dark trailers, and being carted around to different cities to perform dangerous and often painful tricks while under the threat of pain and punishment with bullhooks.

The significant toll that this treatment took on her body was especially evident in the last year of her life. Video footage shows handler Joey Frisco pulling her by the trunk to compel her to move forward while she was forced to give people rides at a Shrine circus show in Michigan. Months later, she reportedly fell and was injured during another Shrine circus performance in Wisconsin.

Had Jenny been allowed to enjoy a more natural existence—one in which she wasn’t forced to perform ridiculous tricks or arduous tasks like using her body to prop up a trailer when it was stuck in the mud on the side of a highway—she may have had another decade or more to live.

Jenny never got the retirement she so desperately needed, but it’s not too late for you to retire the remaining elephants. So many of those you’re still using have physical ailments similar to Jenny’s—including Betty, who must give rides and do tricks at the UniverSoul Circus, even though one of her limbs is so stiff that it looks like a peg leg. Cindy and Carol are also frequently lame.

Elephants need to roam, forage, socialize, and play, and they need the freedom to do it on their own terms. An accredited sanctuary can give them this freedom, along with expert care in the treatment of aging elephants. These animals have given everything they have to your circus—isn’t it time you gave them something in return?

Very truly yours,

Delcianna Winders, Esq.

Vice President and Deputy General Counsel

Captive Animal Law Enforcement

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