Hampton University Criticized for Hosting Problematic Animal Circus

PETA Calls for Garden Bros. to Perform Without Cruel and Dangerous Animal Acts

For Immediate Release:
March 16, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Hampton, Va.

This morning, PETA sent an urgent letter calling on Hampton University Convocation Center officials to require that Garden Bros. Circus perform only with human acts, not animals, during this weekend’s shows. The group points out that recently, Norfolk city officials did the right thing in denying Garden Bros. permits to exhibit animals after learning about the long-standing animal-welfare and public-safety issues associated with the circus.

Garden Bros. leases the elephants in its shows from the notorious Carson & Barnes Circus, which paid a $16,000 fine last year to settle a lawsuit related to an incident in which three elephants escaped from a performance and ran amok for nearly an hour—injuring themselves and damaging the venue and attendees’ cars. Another exhibitor with the circus has been under fire for dragging a frightened yak or buffalo calf on stage by a metal ring pierced through the animal’s nose and for forcing a llama to jump over a camel under threat of a whip.

“Garden Bros. is a notorious circus that drags chained and caged animals across the country, denies them everything that’s natural and important to them, and forces them to perform tricks that are pointless, dangerous, and even painful,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “Cities as close to home as Norfolk are rejecting wild-animal acts, and the Hampton University Convocation Center should not encourage cruelty.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that Garden Bros.’ history of animal-welfare violations includes failing to notice and treat bloody wounds on a camel’s legs, among other incidents. In 2013, an eyewitness reported seeing circus manager Zachary Garden viciously strike a zebra with a 3-foot-long stick.

Protests are scheduled outside Hampton University—at Settlers Landing Road and E. Tyler Street on Sunday, March 19, from 12 noon to 1 p.m., 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., and 5 to 6 p.m.—if the animal acts are not canceled.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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