Sunday, March 9, 2008

Say No to the Garden Bros. Animal Circus!

Unfortunately, the Canadian-based Garden Bros. Circus launched its 2008 season this week starting in the Toronto area.

It's no secret that circus animals endure years of physical and psychological pain and suffering to "entertain" audiences.

Animals in the circus are also unable to behave naturally and are forced to live in unnatural conditions. Elephants are chained up to 23 hours a day and while on the road they are forced to stand in their own waste while lions, tigers and primates are kept in cages so small the animals can barely move around.

Such conditions can cause the animals to develop abnormal behaviours, such as depression, aggression towards other animals (including humans) and other stress-related behaviours like swaying back and forth and bobbing their heads.

The Garden Bros. Circus has been repeatedly criticized by animal protection groups for failing to provide their animals with adequate shelter from the elements, confining their animals for great lengths of time, using harsh training methods on their animals and endangering human safety.

  • In 2001, a 400-pound tiger bit the fingertip off a Garden Bros. worker while the circus was in Toronto.

  • In 1998, Garden Bros. employees left a number of petting zoo animals in their cages by the side of a Virginia road. The temperatures inside the trucks had risen to more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. According to USDA citations, part of the problem was that Richard Garden routinely hired unqualified workers. A few days later, Maryland officials confiscated other abandoned animals, including a tiger, an elephant and a rhinoceros. Shortly after those incidents, the USDA suspended Garden's licence for 15 years and fined him $12,000.00.

  • In 1992, Richard Garden, who also owned the Toby Tyler Circus and United Funding, was accused of cheating charities and deceiving donors across the country. United Funding was sued or banned in a dozen states for deceptive telephone pitches. The Toby Tyler Circus was cited for safety violations that resulted in bleacher collapses in Middletown Township, Pa., and Greenport, N.Y., where the 70 injured included an infant who suffered a skull fracture.

According to Clifford Bickford, a former animal welfare investigator with the USDA (the agency that regulates animal circuses in the United States): "Richard Garden has no business having any animals of any kind. His animals were as poorly kept as any I've seen."

How You Can Help

If you receive a phone call from any animal circus asking you to purchase tickets, tell them you won't support animal cruelty. Suggest they continue the shows without the animals.

If your child's school distributes circus tickets, tell the principal or school board you think it's wrong that the school supports animal exploitation and encourage them to stop.

For more information on animal circuses, please visit: Animal Circuses: Fun for Whom?

To view some interesting comments on the recent Torontoist article covering the Garden Bros. Circus, click onto: PhotoTO: The Circus Is In Town


laloveorganics said...

I have always been appossed to the circus. I find it hard to believe that anyone with a pet of ther own could find the circus entertaining. The animals are not able to do these tricks naturally, they are forcibly taught to them. The stunts that they are made to do are not "BEHAVIORS" as the are called, they are dangerous and cruel.

3Weddings said...

You may want to get your facts straight before posting such slanderous comments. I know it's a blog and you don't have a life outside it.....but you really should research before you blog. Now get off your soapbox.

NCARA said...

Dear 3Weddings,
Thanks for your comments about Garden Bros. Circus. As for my research, I have investigated a number of circuses over the past 8 years, I've interviewed humane society officers, Natural Resource staff and circus employees, including their public relations people who admit to using "harsh" methods to control and train their animals. I've personally witnessed abuse and neglect, as well as improper confinement methods. I have also worked for two of the biggest animal protection charities in Canada. In short, I know what I'm talking about.
But I'm curious, what is it that I've written that you find slanderous?

pavo6503 said...

I went to see the Toby Tyler circus when I was a child. It was one of the most depressing things ever. I remember seeing a gorilla named Tyrone tormented in his cage with nowhere to hide. The trainer threw water, banged on the cage and whatever else to get Tyrone to flip out. Not at all entertaining, even for a 9 year old. I hated it.

I heard Tyrone was rescued. Does anyone have any details? I imagine he's dead by now, but I want to show my son why I'm no fan of the circus but still have a happy ending.


Anonymous said...

The Garden Bros circus is coming to Florida and it will be "welcomed" by plenty of protesters, including myself. Thanks for spreading this information!