Target: Scott O’Donnell, executive director of Circus World
Goal: Do away with cruel animal acts at Circus World
While many of us regard circuses simply as fond childhood memories, there is a sinister side to circuses that the public often does not see. Urge Scott O’Donnell, the new executive director of Circus World, to take steps to clean up the circus and make it a more humane, compassionate form of entertainment.
O’Donnell was recently named executive director of Circus World in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Prior to this position, he was the vice president of the Big Apple Circus, which no longer features exotic animal acts. Circus World, however, still puts on what People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) calls “cruel and antiquated” animal acts. Elephants are particularly likely to be victims of abuse, and Circus World unfortunately has long working relationships with notorious abusers like Carson & Barnes Circus and Hugo “Tommy” Liebel.
Carson & Barnes Circus has over one hundred violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) on its record. During a recent Carson & Barnes elephant exhibition at Circus World, the company “was cited for failing to show that it had given veterinary care to a thin elephant with visible hip bones and shoulder blades,” PETA reports. During the same exhibition, a witness observed an elephant handler “forcefully [striking] the elephant with a bullhook until she screamed,” a fact recorded in a sworn affidavit. Additonally, an undercover video shows a trainer assaulting elephants with a bullhook and electroshocking them.
Hugo “Tommy” Liebel, who also operates under the name “Liebel Family Circus,” is another notorious elephant abuser, with more than thirty separate violations of the AWA to his name. Most of the abuse is heaped upon one ill-fated elephant, Nosey. Liebel was recently ordered to pay $7,500 in fines for his maltreatment of Nosey, including failure to adequately treat her chronic skin condition (a charge that has resurfaced again and again over the past two decades) and for “repeatedly chaining Nosey by two legs so tightly that she could not lie down or take more than a single step in any direction.”
Abusive acts have no place in wholesome family entertainment. Sign the petition and urge Mr. O’Donnell to ban cruel animal acts from Circus World.
Dear Mr. O’Donnell,
Visiting the circus is a quintessential childhood outing, and many adults look back fondly on their first trips to the circus. However, most people never see the dark side of the circus–the maltreatment and abuse of animals. I urge you to use your new position at Circus World to promote a cruelty-free, compassionate circus experience.
Circus World is no stranger to animal rights offenses; it has working relationships with Carson & Barnes Circus and Liebel Family Circus, both of which have long records of animal cruelty. Carson & Barnes has over one hundred violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) on its record, and its recent exhibition at Circus World was marred by further instances of abuse; People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) reports that “Carson & Barnes was cited for failing to show that it had given veterinary care to a thin elephant with visible hip bones and shoulder blades.” Furthermore, an eyewitness report (backed up by a sworn affidavit) alleges that a handler “forcefully struck [an] elephant with a bullhook until she screamed,” while a trainer with the company has been captured on video attacking elephants with a bullhook and electroshocking them.
Liebel Family Circus, operated by Hugo “Tommy” Liebel, has over thirty AWA violations under its belt. Most of the violations pertain to one long-suffering elephant, Nosey. For over two decades, Liebel has been cited time and again for failing to properly care for Nosey’s chronic skin condition, and has also been cited “for repeatedly chaining Nosey by two legs so tightly that she could not lie down or take more than a single step in any direction.”
Animals are just as capable of pain and suffering as humans are. Please take a page out of the cruelty-free Big Apple Circus’s book and ban animal acts from Circus World. Do not let what should be a wholesome family memory continue to be tainted by maltreatment and abuse.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: McLoughlin Bros., Inc via Wikimedia Commons