For Immediate Release:
April 15, 2021
David Perle 202-483-7382
Seguin, Texas – City law prohibits the possession and display of elephants, tigers, and camels, yet the notorious Carden International Circus plans to set up shop in Seguin this month and force them to perform. So this morning, PETA fired off a letter to Mayor Donna Dodgen and the city council, asking them to enforce their own ordinance. City Attorney Andrew Quittner previously told PETA that the city sees “no reason” to change its agreement with Carden, despite the law.
“The city has no business greenlighting Carden’s exploitative camel, elephant, and tiger acts, which are clearly prohibited by its own law,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “PETA is calling on officials to do their jobs and is encouraging everyone to avoid this circus.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Dodgen and the city council members follows.
April 15, 2021
Donna Dodgen, Mayor of Seguin
Honorable Council Members, Seguin City Council
Dear Mayor Dodgen and Council Members,
I’m writing on behalf of PETA and its more than 6.5 million members and supporters to request again that Seguin enforce its laws and prohibit the Carden International Circus from bringing elephants, tigers, or camels to the city when it performs there this month.
The Carden Circus transports animals to hundreds of cities, forcing them to perform and give rides under the constant threat of punishment. They live chained in parking lots and arena back rooms, where they have no semblance of a comfortable or happy life. The elephants Carden uses are aging rapidly, and most show signs of arthritis, a painful, incurable disease that is deadly for elephants. In 2017, this circus subjected an Asian elephant named Jenny to a grueling months-long circus tour despite her obvious poor health. She died near the end of the tour, never having received retirement.
As you know, Seguin prohibits the possession and display of any animal not normally born and raised in captivity, including elephants, tigers, and camels. Code of Ordinances, City of Seguin, Texas § 14-5. Circuses are not exempt. In fact, it is illegal to advertise the exhibition of prohibited animals within the city. Id. Despite this, Carden is currently advertising that it will force prohibited animals to perform in Seguin.
To date, the city’s staff leadership has expressed no interest in enforcing the law. In the only acknowledgment of repeated attempts to discuss the matter with city officials, City Attorney Andrew Quittner stated that the city sees “no reason” to require that Carden comply with the ordinance.
As PETA has made the city aware, refusal to enforce the law could have serious consequences for Seguin’s citizens, as dangerous incidents with elephants and tigers in captivity have resulted in dozens of human deaths and catastrophic injuries. Carden has a history of such incidents, including one in which an elephant attacked an arena worker in El Paso, causing the worker to sustain severe injuries. The Carden family also has a long history of violating the federal Animal Welfare Act, including failing to provide an elephant who had open wounds with proper veterinary care. Adam Burck, the tiger exhibitor currently on tour with this circus, has a written policy that the animals he uses must be in transport cages “at all times” except when performing, suggesting that they are denied any meaningful exercise for the entire tour season.
The law in Seguin is clear: Elephants, tigers, and camels are prohibited. If the city wouldn’t let its taxpaying citizens violate the law, it shouldn’t permit an out-of-town circus to flout it either. PETA hopes the city will notify Carden that it intends to enforce its ordinance. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Very truly yours,
Rachel Mathews, Esq.
Director | Captive Animal Law Enforcement