Help Get Baby Val Out of the Circus

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Originally Posted: 19 December 2009

Help Get Baby Val Out of the Circus

FROM In Defense of Animals (IDA)

Tell The USDA to rescue Val from Carson & Barnes and Royal Hanneford circuses and send her to a sanctuary.


Dr. Robert Gibbens, DVM
Western Regional Director
USDA, APHIS, Animal Care
fax (970) 494-7461


Two and a half year old baby Val has been performing for the Carson and Barnes Circus for about a year now. IDA is deeply concerned about her safety. We know the trauma that both mother and calf suffer when violently separated and prematurely weaned. The cruel and abusive training involved in forcing elephants to do unnatural tricks is well documented; the likelihood that Val has been beaten into submission is a virtual certainty. And lastly, the tricks that she is being forced to perform, such as standing and walking on her hind legs, are dangerous for her developing bones and muscles.

In all, this baby elephant's health and well-being are at grave risk. Two young Carson and Barnes elephants before her have been stricken with the deadly elephant herpes virus; one, poor little Jenny, died. No doubt the stress and trauma of circus life made these babies vulnerable to this often-fatal disease.

Since April, IDA has monitored a number of Val’s increasingly dangerous performances. View these videos here and here. We have filed Complaints asking the USDA to take her - along with her mother, Whimpy - away from her "owners" at Carson and Barnes Circus, who have demonstrated a callous disregard for the safety of their baby elephants. We need to continue monitoring her condition, at every venue if possible, until she is safe.

We need your help: Val's handler is the notorious Tim Frisco, who was caught on video demonstrating how to train elephants by beating them, telling other handlers to "make 'em scream" in order to get the elephants to comply with commands. Val and Frisco are appearing at a variety of Shrine Circus venues featuring the Royal Hanneford Circus, which is leasing elephants from Carson and Barnes. We need your help to track Val so we can continue to document her treatment.

If a Shrine Circus is coming to your area, please check to see if it is a Royal Hanneford production. Get any available information, and then email us at [email protected] so that we can further investigate. (Royal Hanneford has more than one unit with performing elephants.) If Val is going to be in your area, let us know if you can photograph her performances.

And lastly, please let the USDA know that this kind of abuse of young, vulnerable baby elephants violates the Animal Welfare Act.


Dear Dr. Gibbens:

I urge the USDA to take immediate steps to protect baby elephant Val from the ongoing Animal Welfare Act violations being committed by the Carson and Barnes Circus (Lic. No. 73- C-0001). The AWA regulations clearly require safe handling of animals; they must be handled in a way that does not cause trauma, stress, harm or discomfort and conditions must be consistent with their good health and well-being.

Val is only 2 and a half years old, and she has already been traveling with the circus for nearly a year. She suffered terrible trauma and stress when she was taken prematurely from her mother to be trained, and is now being forced, by threat of physical punishment, into performing tricks such as standing and walking on her hind legs that are dangerous for her developing bones and muscles. She is at great risk for permanent, irremediable damage from these tricks, and her health is threatened by the stress that she is forced to live under.

Carson and Barnes has demonstrated a blatant disregard for the safety and well-being of their baby elephants, and Val is suffering as a result of this. She must be confiscated immediately, along with her mother, Whimpy, and brought to a sanctuary where she can live without the unnatural risks imposed by circus life.


Visit our image gallery to see some of the ways elephants are abused in circuses...and elsewhere!

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