Warning for Morgan City: Incoming Circus Show Is Illegal

PETA Declares That City's Ban on Harboring Wild Animals Requires Garden Bros. Performance to Be Elephant-Free

For Immediate Release:
September 13, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Morgan City, La. – Citing Morgan City’s ban on harboring wild animals within its limits, PETA sent a letter this morning calling on Mayor Frank P. Grizzaffi III to ensure that Garden Bros. Circus—which is scheduled to perform at the Morgan City Municipal Auditorium this Monday—leaves elephants out of the show, as required by the law.

PETA notes that Garden Bros. is planning to use Isa and Viola, two elephants who are exhibited by Carson & Barnes Circus and have a history of escaping, including in one incident in 2014 in which they ran amok for nearly an hour. The circus also uses abusive methods to control them, which can make them more likely to lash out. Recent video footage shows one of its handlers 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 Mayor Grizzaffi that if Morgan City allows this circus to drag its abusive elephant act into town in violation of the law, it could be held accountable for creating a nuisance,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “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.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that many jurisdictions, including localities in Georgia, Minnesota, Virginia, and West Virginia, have stopped Garden Bros. from performing or required it 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