Animal Defenders of Westchester

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We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704


Outraged by Carson & Barnes

Letter published in the Hollister Freelance Newspaper:  

 Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Dear Editor:

I am outraged by the article I just read about the Carson and Barnes Circus not really addressing the point that they have been caught beating their elephants and were fined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for this. Instead they try to focus on PETA.

There are also many other animal welfare groups that have come out against this abuse including the ASPCA. All the people in this warehouse while the beatings were going on are still with the circus and the man caught doing the beating is the owner's son.

This circus was just "caught" last year on under-cover video beating their elephants with bull hooks and electrocuting them as they screamed in pain. The United States Department of Agriculture fined them $400 for this.

By "paying" this little fine, the circus was able to avoid having a "violation of the Animal Welfare Act" attached to their name. So this is why the USDA and the circus always says "we have not been found in violation of the Animal Welfare Act," which is technically true but ONLY because they "settled" out of court.

The circus also claims this tape was edited. This tape was only edited in parts to show the various elephant abuse at various times so that it would all be able to be viewed in a timely manner. The elephant trainer even says on under-cover video "you have to hurt the elephant here. I am not going to do this in front of thousands of people."

Obviously the USDA also found this tape to be authentic or they would not have fined them $400 for it. Also, there was a statement that the circus has so many checks and balances, which is completely untrue.

The elephant training sessions are not monitored by any agency and even when the circus was "caught" beating the elephants, the circus simply settled out of court so it would not appear on their record as a violation.

Elephants should be treated humanely and not hit with bull hooks and electrocuted to make them perform tricks such as an elephant standing on their head. It is too bad that caring people go to the circus and spend their money and have no idea of the abuse inflicted on these elephants.

James Fontaine

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