Warning for Garland: Incoming Circus Show Is Illegal

PETA Declares That City's Ban on Wild, Exotic, and Dangerous Animals Requires Elephant-Free Garden Bros. Performance

For Immediate Release:
August 27, 2018

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Garland, Texas – Citing Garland’s ban on harboring wild, exotic, or dangerous animals within the city, PETA sent a letter this morning calling on the operators of the Curtis Culwell Center to require that Garden Bros. Circus—which is scheduled to perform at the center this weekend—leave elephants out of the show, as required by the law.

PETA notes that Isa and Viola, the two elephants owned by Carson & Barnes Circus and slated to appear at Garden Bros. performances, are wild, exotic, and dangerous. They have a history of escaping, including in one incident in 2016 in which they ran amok for nearly an hour, and the circus uses abusive methods to control them, which can make them more likely to lash out. Recent video footage shows a handler poking, yanking, and prodding elephants with a bullhook—a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one end.

“PETA is alerting the Curtis Culwell Center that if it allows this circus to drag its abusive elephant act into town, it could be held accountable for creating a public nuisance,” says PETA Foundation Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “If Garden Bros. Circus won’t perform without elephants, it shouldn’t be performing at all.”

Garden Bros. has an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau. Its elephant provider, Carson & Barnes, employs as its head trainer Tim Frisco, who was caught on video attacking elephants with a bullhook and an electric prod. In a recent whistleblower complaint, a former Garden Bros. employee described frequently seeing elephants with blood dripping from behind their ears. Carson & Barnes also has a history of exhibiting elephants with tuberculosis, which is potentially deadly and highly contagious to humans—even without direct contact.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that many jurisdictions, including in Georgia, Minnesota, Virginia, and West Virginia, have stopped Garden Bros. and Carson & Barnes from performing or required them to perform without elephants.

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