The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Circus Violations

UniverSoul Circus ended their two week run at Prospect Park Sunday and I'm glad to see them go. The wonderful weather over the weekend made riding bikes through Prospect Park almost mandatory, but what a buzzkill it was to pass the huge circus tent and think about the elephants suffering in their hot steel cages, chained up with barely any room to move.

It's such an odd thing that a place like Prospect Park, which calls itself "one of the world’s largest classrooms," would support something like UniverSoul Circus. What educational value does elephants standing on their hind legs and horses jumping through flaming hoops serve? The only lesson I take from circuses is that if you cage animals, beat them with bullhooks and shock them electric prods, you can turn a profit.

If you think I'm being dramatic here, I'll let the facts speak for themselves. Here is just a sample of the USDA inspection reports on UniverSoul Circus. For the full report, click here.
June 21, 2005: A U.S. District Court judge who viewed videotape of UniverSoul elephant exhibitor Carson & Barnes’ animal care director Tim Frisco beating elephants with bullhooks and shocking them with electric prods described it as "troubling" and noted that it depicts conduct that violates the federal Animal Welfare Act.

June 2, 2004: During an inspection of UniverSoul Circus in Landover Hills, Maryland, Prince George’s County Animal Management Division observed two tigers fighting. The trainer, Tyrone Taylor, walked into the tigers’ holding cage, leaving the gate open. One tiger, known as Igor, escaped and ran loose, attacking an elephant named Suzie and biting her on the hip. During this time, children from several elementary schools attending the performance were walking under the tent in the area where the tiger escaped.

May 28, 2004: The USDA cited UniverSoul elephant exhibitor Carson & Barnes Circus for failing to provide an adequate safety barrier between the public and elephants.

July 11, 2003: A kangaroo named Rocky, who was used in a UniverSoul Circus boxing routine in which he was restrained by a harness and taunted into defending himself, died. The circus had continued to use the animal even though he had been diagnosed two months earlier with an often-deadly bacterial infection known as lumpy jaw, which can be caused by overcrowding, poor hygiene, or poor diet.

December 5, 2003: The USDA opened an investigation into UniverSoul kangaroo exhibitor Javier Martinez following a second kangaroo death within a four-month period.

February 4, 2003: A 450-pound tiger with UniverSoul Circus escaped in Jacksonville, Florida, while the cage was being cleaned. The tiger climbed up on a car, jumped over a fence, headed down an alley, frightened employees at a nearby restaurant, and was recaptured 10 minutes later.

July 6, 2002: UniverSoul’s Platinum unit was observed in Charlotte, North Carolina, using elephants belonging to William Woodcock. According to information compiled by the USDA on elephant examinations, housing, and transport, Woodcock commented to a USDA official, “If I get any defiance [from the elephants], I’ll beat the hell out of them. [The elephants] will disobey in public because they know I can’t hit them with the stick as much.”

April 11, 2002: UniverSoul’s Roots, Rags, and Rhythm unit was observed in Charleston, South Carolina, using three African elephants from Frisco Bros. Petting Zoo, owned by Joe Frisco Sr., the patriarch of an elephant-training family. In January 2002, PETA released undercover video of Frisco’s son, Tim, beating elephants during behind-the-scenes training sessions. Tim Frisco is shown cursing at and viciously attacking elephants with a sharp metal bullhook until they scream in pain and instructing other elephant trainers to “Sink that hook into them,” “Hurt ’em,” and “Make ’em scream.”

August 21, 2003: According to the Montgomery County Sentinel, a former animal trainer for UniverSoul Circus “found the circus to be mistreating some of its animals and actually called the USDA to report it.”

April 6, 2000: The USDA cited UniverSoul’s chimpanzee exhibitor, Mitchel Kalmanson, for failure to provide veterinary care, environmental enrichment programs, and adequate space. The chimpanzee cages had barely half the floor space specified in the AWA.

April 22, 1999: World-renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall appealed to UniverSoul Circus “to end the senseless exploitation of chimpanzees … who live out their lives in inhumane, lonely, and unnatural settings in the name of entertainment.”

October 8, 1997: The Ethnic NewsWatch Sacramento Observer reported that comedian Richard Pryor had written to the circus director asking that animals not be used “because of cruel training methods and a life that consists of little more than tiny cages, leg shackles, bullhooks, and whips.”

April 29, 1997: The Village Voice reported, “The front row is so close to the ring that people sitting there are advised to remove their belongings from the railing when the elephants enter—if one of these babies goes mad, somebody’s getting killed.”
In 2001 General Mills discontinued its sponsorship of UniverSoul after learning of the circus's history of animal abuse and neglect. In 2004 Burger King dropped its sponsorship of UniverSoul for the same reason. How long will it take for Prospect Park to wise up and end this senseless abuse?"

You can help, just by not hiring any circus and not participating in their horrible shows of mistreatment."


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