Garden Bros. Circus Barred From Using Animals

PETA Sends Vegan Chocolates in Thanks for Progressive Policy at Berglund Center

For Immediate Release:
February 20, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Roanoke, Va. – Because of its strict policy prohibiting circuses that use animals, the Berglund Center has confirmed to PETA that Garden Bros. Circus will only be allowed to perform there on March 9 if it does so without camels, elephants, dogs, ponies, or any other animals. In thanks, PETA is sending the venue a box of vegan elephant-shaped chocolates.

“Successful circuses today are switching to shows that feature only willing human performers, and that’s exactly what Garden Bros. will have to do in Roanoke,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “PETA looks forward to seeing the Berglund Center host a spectacular show that stars talented human beings, not abused animals.”

Last year, Garden Bros. used two elephants, named Betty and Bo, supplied by Larry Carden—even though Betty is chronically lame, likely a result of prolonged chaining and confinement. In 2018, officials in Massachusetts prevented Garden Bros. from using an underweight horse in performances, and officials in Missouri charged handlers for holding elephants, camels, and ponies on hot asphalt without shade. In a 2017 whistleblower complaint, a former Garden Bros. employee described frequently seeing elephants with blood dripping from behind their ears and reported that a handler beat, punched, and kicked a camel after a performance. A handler was also caught repeatedly whipping a llama.

Numerous venues and localities across the country—including in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.—have canceled Garden Bros. shows or barred the circus from performing with animals.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind