PETA has fired off a letter urging Circus World in
Baraboo, Wisconsin, to ban elephant exhibitions following news reports that the museum brought in four elephants—one of whom had recently been exposed
to a tuberculosis-positive elephant. The elephants were supplied by the notorious
Carson Barnes Circus, which did not have permits to take the animals into the state. Wisconsin
requires import permits for exotic animals and prohibits transporting animals
who may carry communicable diseases as well as all public contact with such
animals.

© Paul Martucci

Close Enough to Take
Your Breath Away

Not only do many elephants carry the human strain of tuberculosis,
contrary to Carson Barnes’ misinformation and as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they also can easily
transmit it to humans, even without direct contact. For example, tuberculosis
carried by an elephant was recently linked to an outbreak in Tennessee among nine humans, some of whom had had no direct contact with the elephant. Elephants
used in traveling exhibits like those going to Circus World are particularly at
risk—the stress of traveling and performing make them more susceptible to the
disease and more likely to develop a severe infection.

In addition to its total disregard for public health and state law, Carson Barnes has a long history of violating the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). In late September, it paid a penalty for 10 violations of the AWA, including
endangering the public and elephants. Carson Barnes’ “animal care”
director was caught on
video
 viciously attacking elephants with a bullhook, shocking elephants with an electric prod, and instructing trainers to embed
sharp metal hooks into the elephants’ flesh until the animals screamed in pain.

© Paul Martucci

Circus History Is a History of Cruelty

Last year, Circus World hosted the Liebel Family Circus, which was recently charged with almost three
dozen
violations of the AWA
.

The charges against Liebel include keeping an elephant named
Nosey—who appeared at Circus World—chained so tightly by two legs that she could not lie down and could barely
move, repeatedly denying her adequate veterinary care, potentially exposing her
to serious infections by allowing manure to accumulate in the overgrown soles
of her feet (foot ailments are the leading reason why captive elephants are
euthanized), and repeatedly allowing unsupervised public contact with Nosey,
who once hit a Liebel employee on the back of the head so severely that he
required hospital treatment for the injury.

Abuse is the rule, not the exception, when it comes to forcing elephants to perform
tricks, and elephants pose an inherent threat to human safety and health—from both
disease and dangerous outbursts because of prolonged frustration. That’s why more
and more cities are prohibiting or limiting circuses with exotic-animal acts,
including nearby Dane
County
 (which includes Madison), where an ordinance prohibiting elephant exhibits was
recently passed.

What You Can Do

Circus World needs to get with the times and consign human
endangerment and cruelty to animals to the scrapheap of history. Because our
pleas to Circus World Executive Director Steve Freese have been ignored, please
join PETA in calling on Ellen Langill, president of the Wisconsin
Historical Society Board of Curators—which owns Circus World—to stop exhibiting
elephants.

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Article source: PETA Files

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