Mississippi Valley Fair Halts Elephant Rides

Cancelation Comes Less Than 24 Hours After PETA Alerted Iowa Officials to Illegal Contact With Dangerous Animals

For Immediate Release:
August 2, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Davenport, Iowa – Less than a day after PETA notified the Iowa State Veterinarian that the Mississippi Valley Fair was offering elephant rides in violation of Iowa’s prohibition on public contact with dangerous animals, the fair halted the rides.

“Elephants used at fairs are chained, dragged from town to town, and forced to give rides under the constant threat of physical violence,” says PETA Foundation Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “Iowa officials were right to crack down on these cruel and illegal rides, and PETA urges families to stay away from all dangerous wild-animal displays.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that the rides were provided by Habib Omar of Carson & Barnes Circus, which has a long history of endangering the public and abusing elephants and was recently notified by the Iowa State Veterinarian that elephant rides are prohibited in Iowa. Omar, in particular, was caught on video tugging on an elephant with a bullhook—a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp metal hook on one end—and shouted profanities at her. And a whistleblower reported that the trainer would “warm up” elephants with an electric prod—presumably so that there would be no visible marks from his abuse.

In previous years, the Mississippi Valley Fair has also allowed public contact with tiger cubs provided by notorious animal exhibitor G.W. Exotic.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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 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