After watching an Internet video reportedly showing animal handlers from the Carson & Barnes Circus abusing elephants, I decided to dig a little deeper into their practices. I didn’t find one or two problems but six pages of violations documenting how this circus has failed to meet minimal federal standards for the care of animals used in exhibition. Starting in 1982 when five elephants tried to escape from the circus in Oklahoma (one elephant was killed during this incident) to December 2011 when they were cited for failure to protect elephants from injury, it was clear that this was a company that has had little to no regard for public safety or animal welfare.
Then I looked into the Endangered Ark Foundation, which they claim will receive proceeds from tonight’s show. The foundation is owned and operated by Carson & Barnes Circus. It calls itself an elephant breeding facility and appears to have been created in part to maintain elephants for use in their circuses.
The fact that the Steamboat Today did not report on any of the numerous violations, the documented animal abuses or the circus’s ties to its own Endangered Ark Foundation charity is a disservice to our community. I ask the newspaper to please do your research before you provide free front-page advertising to groups like this.