The Carson & Barnes Circus has come and gone, and if caring area residents knew more about the cruel treatment of animals used by the circus, they’ll think twice before welcoming it back.
Carson & Barnes recently paid to settle 10 alleged violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including failure to maintain control of an elephant who sustained injuries after running down a steep slope and falling, inadequate shelter and fencing for elephants, transporting elephants in an unsafe manner, and for leaving elephants unattended during rides.
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A U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector saw a handler with no elephant experience repeatedly use “excessive force while tugging at” the elephant with a bullhook—a rod with a sharp steel hook on one end. Another trainer was caught on video viciously attacking terrified elephants with bullhooks and electric prods and instructing other trainers to hurt the elephants until they scream, to sink a bullhook into their flesh and twist it, and to conceal the beatings from the public.
The circus has repeatedly been cited for failure to provide animals with veterinary care, minimum space, shelter from the elements, adequate ventilation, and clean water.
The time is long overdue to stop pretending that animal acts are anything other than cruel exploitation.