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Friday, September 08, 2006 

It seems that even the SPCA agrees that we are good animal caretakers when they take the time to actually observe us and investigate our real record.


Investigators find no signs of animal cruelty at circus

By: Kristina Martino / The Citizen.
Wednesday, September 6, 2006 6:50 PM EDT



When Cayuga County officials learned from an animal protection organization that the Carson & Barnes Circus allegedly abuses their elephants, officials quickly planned a local investigation held at the circus in Emerson Park, Aug. 25.

Investigation results compiled by the Finger Lakes Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals show positive care of elephants by circus employees during the event.

"Investigators were impressed by the care given to elephants and horses," said Legislature Chairman George Fearon.

Prior to the circus, Fearon received a letter from an animal specialist at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a non-profit organization for animal protection, asking the county to pass legislation banning devices used to inflict pain on elephants. PETA accompanied their letter to the county with a videotape allegedly showing a Carson & Barnes employee attacking an elephant with a bullhook.

Fearon inquired with the local SPCA who informed him that state legislation already banning the devices existed, but SPCA members would conduct investigations at the circus.

During the circus, the SPCA sent members from their Humane Law Enforcement Division dressed both in uniform and plain clothes to investigate the treatment of all animals at the circus.


According to a report from the SPCA, an employee inspected the elephants by physically touching them.

The report stated no injuries were visible and that the animals were very social and responsive to the trainer's verbal commands. Investigators found only a training staff and electrical fences in the trailers.

According to the report, the elephants had a clear bond with the handler.

Lisa Wathne, Captive Exotic Animal Specialist for PETA, said that the laws that exist are very lax and circuses have very broad rules to comply by, Wathne said.

Nice to see such a positive article!! I just spent five days in Baraboo, Wisconsin, at the Circus World Museum. They have three elephants (and three trainers) from Animal Encounters (Dallas, TX) performing there this year. (My husband is the clown at the museum this year.)

We had such a good time with the elephants; they are so social and incredibly SMART, and loved looking for snacks in our hands and pockets when we came by. My girls must have rode the elephants a hundred times. Doug Terranova and his two handlers Jeremiah and Adam treat the animals very well; they all three respond to verbal commands and the bullhooks are there, but in five days I never saw one used, verbal commands were enough.

Such beautiful animals, each with a distinct personality. I was never frightened for a moment, and when you look at them and how well they are cared for and how wonderful the bond is between the trainers/handlers and the elephants, it just does your heart good. If these wonderful creatures were being mistreated, they'd easily snap the trainer in two and rip down the elephant barn getting out of their minimal chains and escaping.

Wonderful that this group visited the show instead of believeing what peta told them second hand. We need more of this kind of on site by someone who can do something good for the circus. An elephant will never do smething it does not want to do. How on earth would you stop them if you wanted to! The world needs more circuses in this broken world that we live in today. A joy for all who work and watch a circus. A little peace from the turmoil of the year. God bless the circus and all the animals who work and play there.

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About me

  • I'm B.E.Trumble
  • From Everywhere, United States
  • Ben Trumble works in circus, carnival, and media relations
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