PETA to Fund Circus World? If It Retires the Elephant Acts

Group Offers Boost for Wagon Restoration Project in Exchange for Dropping Law-Violating Contractor

For Immediate Release:
April 30, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

Baraboo, Wis. – Circus World’s “Adopt a Wagon” program may have an unlikely new benefactor: PETA. In a letter sent to the museum this morning, the group—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—offers to help fund its wagon restoration project in exchange for an end to the museum’s notoriously cruel elephant shows. The Carson & Barnes Circus—which has a long history of Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations, including one that was accrued at Circus World’s facility—has historically provided the museum with elephants for its exhibits.

“Circus World’s decision to do business with Carson & Barnes despite the circus’s history of abusing animals and violating federal law is appalling,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is asking Circus World to stick to using willing human performers and leave the abuse, confinement, and chronic deprivation of elephants in the past—where it belongs.”

A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection report of Carson & Barnes’ facility highlights the continued neglect of the elephant Nina, who has been used for performances and rides at Circus World—and who lost a shocking 500 pounds in just the past few months. While at Circus World in 2013, Carson & Barnes was cited for failing to show that it had provided Nina, who was thin even then—photographs that the USDA released from this inspection show her protruding hip bone and shoulder blade—with appropriate veterinary care. Carson & Barnes also has a history of beating elephants with bullhooks (a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp metal hook on one end), as shown in an undercover video from a Carson & Barnes training session.

PETA’s letter to Circus World Executive Director Scott O’Donnell is available upon request. For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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