No Elephants at Garden Bros. Circus Show After PETA Appeal

Officials Bar Notoriously Cruel Circus From Hauling Suffering Elephants Into Town

For Immediate Release:
January 16, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Hope, Ark. – After PETA alerted local law enforcement of Garden Bros. Circus’ plans to perform with elephants at its shows next month—despite an ordinance prohibiting events in which wild animals are abused, stressed, harassed, or forced to engage in “unnatural behavior”—officials assured PETA that the circus would not bring elephants into the city. In thanks, PETA is sending city officials a box of vegan elephant-shaped chocolates.

“While other circuses have switched to shows that feature only willing human performers, Garden Bros. Circus is still sneaking around with its cruel, dangerous, and unwanted elephant acts,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “City officials did the right thing here, as every rejection of wild-animal acts helps PETA push circuses toward an animal-free future.”

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 and Missouri prevented Garden Bros. from using an underweight horse in performances and charged handlers for holding elephants, camels, and ponies on hot asphalt without shade, respectively. 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 Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, 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

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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