Madison, Wis. — An ailing elephant named Isa used by Circus World Museum is haunting Madison-area buses to urge the facility’s operator, the locally based Wisconsin Historical Society, to reject all animal acts ahead of the circus’s first show of the season, on May 20. The ads feature a photo of Isa from a PETA investigation that revealed that Circus World—which uses an elephant exhibitor who has incurred more than 100 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act—forced geriatric elephants to perform grueling tricks in shows twice a day, every day, while they suffered from chronically swollen feet and presented signs of other painful foot and joint problems, which are among the leading reasons captive elephants are euthanized.
“Circus World forces geriatric elephants to perform demeaning tricks, stand on concrete all night while chained by their legs, and suffer through likely agonizing joint pain,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler. “PETA is calling on everyone to stay away from Circus World and to support animal-free acts in which human talent takes center stage.”
Circus World uses elephant acts provided by Carson & Barnes Circus, whose head trainer was caught on camera instructing other trainers to sink a bullhook—a weapon resembling a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one end—into elephants’ flesh and twist it until they screamed. Among other violations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited Carson & Barnes for using an elephant at Circus World who was so thin that her hip bones were protruding and for failing to notice that another elephant at Circus World was lame.