Stop Forcing Abused Elephants to Work at State Fairs


Target: Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana

Goal: Stop employing abusive elephant suppliers for state fairs and other public events

The Indiana State Fair is an annual celebration that offers elephant rides to hundreds of festival patrons. The supplier for this year’s fair, Carson & Barnes, has been cited for over 100 animal welfare violations, including failing to properly care for an elephant that was so malnourished its bones became visible beneath the skin. Despite the company’s long history of abuse as well as an elephant mishap during the 2009 fair, event organizers have scheduled these animals for more dangerous work.

Elephant training is an inherently cruel practice and Carson & Barnes employees are no exception. Undercover footage and sworn witness testimonies detail highly graphic scenarios in which confused elephants were beaten senseless, sometimes screaming out in agony. The carelessness of the trainers puts people at risk, too. Animal welfare group PETA notes that in one incident an adult and child took photographs of three elephants from behind with no elephant handler present to ensure the onlookers’ safety.

Frightened animals of this size and power pose serious risks when exposed to hordes of excited people. In 2009, PETA recalls that “12 children were injured when an elephant bumped into a mobile staircase where kids were waiting in line.” Even if the elephants do not act out of fear or anger, their enormous statures can still lead to serious accidents.

Sign the following petition to demand that elephants be excluded from Indiana’s public events and celebrations. The potential injury of fair attendees and the certain injury of these great creatures are not worth funding.


Dear Governor Pence,

Indiana’s annual state fair is a great tradition of fun and entertainment, but its elephant rides are both dangerous and cruel. The training of these animals often involves abuse and neglect, and the suppliers for this year’s fair, Carson & Barnes, have been cited for over 100 animal rights violations.

Among Carson & Barnes’ worst offenses is beating an elephant with a metal prod until it began shrieking in pain. Unfortunately, this type of behavior is typical of elephant trainers. Obedience is achieved via fear and punishment, resulting in a herd of creatures that is frequently frightened, injured, and traumatized.

Combined with the chaotic and highly stimulating fair atmosphere, the potential for harm to both elephants and patrons is extremely high. In fact, the 2009 Indiana State Fair experienced such an incident when an elephant accidentally nudged a staircase on which children were standing, causing it to collapse and injuring 12 kids. Nonetheless, elephants have been scheduled for this upcoming event.

For the safety of both the elephants and festival attendees, I urge you to end elephant employment in all civic events and celebrations. Even when these multi-ton creatures do not act out of fear, serious accidents can still occur. Please put these animals’ welfare before mere entertainment.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Heather Norwood via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Rita Grahn says:

    Elephants are wild animals. They should be left where they belong – IN THE WILD, NOT in a circus, to be ridiculed and mocked by jeering sub-humans for “entertainment”.

  2. Emily March says:

    I hate this! — Circuses are outdated enterprises anyway. If circuses there must be, please make them cruelty- and animal free…

  3. KatWrangler says:

    We have to teach our children that animals are not toys, or for our entertainment. Allowing any animal to be abused at state fairs and circuses is only reinforcing violent messages children see every day, desensitizing many to how to treat animals, and people.

    These cruel and brutal traditions have to stop and the people providing the animals should be in prison for abuse.

  4. How the hell can they still be in business then if they have had over 100 animal welfare violations???
    Boycott circuses! Free these animals! Ban circuses for life!!!

  5. Jennifer McCullough says:

    Sick sick people..there should be laws brought in anyone found carrying out this act should have the same treatment done to them…..assholes

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