Hollywood Icon—and Native Wisconsinite—Demands a Curtain Call on Cruel Animal Performances Hosted by the Wisconsin Historical Society
For Immediate Release:
August 6, 2018
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
Baraboo, Wis. – Legendary actor and native Wisconsinite Gena Rowlands fired off a letter today urging the Wisconsin Historical Society to stop hosting the notoriously cruel Carson & Barnes Circus at its Circus World Museum in Baraboo.
“Carson & Barnes’ animal ‘care’ director was caught on videotape attacking elephants with a bullhook, a steel-tipped weapon the size of a fireplace poker,” Rowlands writes. “Caring audiences don’t want to see animals being exploited, and savvy businesses are taking note …. I hope you’ll agree that it’s time for Circus World to put animals first, too.”
PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” For more information, please visit PETA.org.
Gena Rowlands’ letter to Christian Overland, director of the Wisconsin Historical Society, follows.
The Ruth and Hartley Barker Director
Wisconsin Historical Society
Dear Mr. Overland,
As a proud Wisconsinite, I have a checklist of activities that are guaranteed to give my animal-friendly friends the full Badger State experience. Birdwatching at Devil’s Lake, hiking in the Northwoods, and kayaking on the Bois Brule River are all musts. But visiting Circus World Museum does not make my list, at least not until it stops bringing in cruel, out-of-touch circuses that profit when animals suffer—ones like Carson & Barnes, whose elephant acts Circus World brings back year after year.
That’s why I’m writing—to ask that you please draw the curtain on wild-animal acts.
Carson & Barnes’ animal “care” director was caught on videotape attacking elephants with a bullhook, a steel-tipped weapon the size of a fireplace poker. He also shocked these gentle, exceptionally intelligent giants with an electric prod and told his stooges to drive their bullhooks into the elephants’ flesh until they screamed in pain. “Performing animals” are chained, caged, and dragged across the country, enduring abuse like this at and between every stop.
Carson & Barnes’ priorities don’t include ensuring the well-being of the animals it uses in its acts. It’s racked up more than 100 violations of federal animal-welfare laws, including for failing to provide animals with veterinary care, failing to provide them with shelter from inclement weather, and not allowing them even the minimum required space.
Circus World preserves cruelty by allowing animal acts—and times are changing. Caring audiences don’t want to see animals being exploited, and savvy businesses are taking note: The historic Kelly Miller Circus just went animal-free, joining a growing number of circuses that have made the same kind choice. And municipalities across the country no longer welcome acts that use wild animals.
I hope you’ll agree that it’s time for Circus World to put animals first, too. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.