On Thursday the Dane County Board will address a problem that the Zor Shriners should have handled long ago — the abuse of elephants in their Madison circuses.
In the wild and in sanctuaries, elephants roam up to 50 miles a day, form close-knit social bonds, love their young, grieve their dead.
But circus elephants are chained in place for much of their lives, hauled in truck trailers across the country. Their chained, isolated confinement is punctuated only by the bright lights, amplified hoopla, and bullhook jabs of the circus ring.
Zor leadership claims elephants don’t mind chains, truck trailers, and bullhooks. Their spokesman suggested on Ch. 3 (WISC-TV) news last December that there’s no way to mistreat an elephant, other than to starve it to death (http://tinyurl.com/86arhrt).
Regarding the use of circus profit for charitable purposes, tickets to the Zor Shrine circus state “proceeds benefit Shrine Center. Payments are not deductible as charitable contributions.”
Other county fraternal groups do not rely on animal cruelty to fund their operations. Zor leadership could promote and bring a circus here without elephants, offering family entertainment that’s truly wholesome. Instead, it’s needlessly mistreating elephants, misusing the time of supervisors and dishonoring the Shriners’ heritage of compassionate public service.
— Charles Talbert, Monona
The Alliant Energy Center is bringing yet another elephant act to Dane County in May even though the County is currently discussing a ban on circus elephants in Dane County venues.
We believe that the Piccadilly Circus is contracting the Franzen Bros. Circus for their exotic animal acts. Like the Zor Shrine Circus the Piccadilly Circus contracts their exotic animal acts.
The Franzen Bros Circus has been cited by the USDA for its failure to provide proper veterinary care, its failure to meet the animals’ nutritional requirements, and for its failure to provide sanitary conditions for the animals.
Most disturbing is a video that was taken of Brian Franzen at the Milwaukee Circus Parade in 2009. This video shows Brian Franzen jabbing and hooking his elephants before the parade in Milwaukee WI.
At a recent Dane County Public Works and Transportation committee, Executive Director of the Alliant Energy Center Bill DiCarlo defended the event, saying it is a “one time only” event and that the circus “has only one elephant.” While to some, that may seem like a positive thing, keeping elephants from others of their species is even worse than keeping them in a group.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has recently required, due to the extreme sociability of elephants, that elephant groups must be no smaller than three elephants. Keeping one solitary elephant is inhumane. Because of this, many zoos are having to overhaul their exhibits or eliminate them altogether.
We are not in favor of elephants in zoos, but at least potentially zoos can improve elephants’ lives and enrich the captive environment. Circuses can’t do this. Because a circus is continually moving from city to city, it is nearly impossible to improve their surroundings or give them a more natural and healthy environment. Hauling elephants around the country and forcing them to perform requires frequent physical contact with them as well as nearly constant chaining, intimidation, and the threat of physical punishment.
We do not want this act here. How you can help:
“Don’t go.” (Sorry, we couldn’t resist that.)
Contact the Alliant Energy Center and tell them that you will not be attending the Piccadilly Circus and that you disapprove of this use of animals for entertainment.
For information on how to help contact Elephants Living Free, a project of Alliance for Animals: firstname.lastname@example.org
Today’s issue of 77 Square features an “advertisement” with a line drawing of an elephant holding a rope around the neck of a stick figure. The stick figure is meant to represent the “goofballs” that are in support of a ban on elephant acts in Dane County.
The caption reads, “Maybe we should put a muzzle on them and walk them around for the children!!”
Suggesting that those who stand up for elephants should be chained and muzzled is a threat and incitement to violence. Do we really need more “bullying” in our community?
Elephants in the circus perform because they are afraid of being beaten. As young elephants, they are “broken”. Their spirits are broken in horrendous practices which include isolation, neglect, and beating with a sharp pointed bull hook. While circus goers are not allowed to see such abuse, one need only notice the bull hook in the handlers’ hands to know that the elephants will do anything to keep that weapon from being dug into their skin.
Supporters of the ban are compassionate, empathetic, and caring advocates who use facts rather than nasty personal insults to speak out for the elephants who are forced to perform, made to travel in trailers, chained at the legs for hours, and are simply not allowed to be elephants.
Yes, we support freedom of speech.
Yes, we have a sense of humor.
But come on. . . pick on the bad guys, not those who protect those who can’t speak for themselves.
The Zor Shrine Circus is coming to town. Because of the controversy surrounding the use of wild animals in circuses, I attended a presentation about the use of these magnificent animals, specifically elephants, to learn what circus life is really like for them.
The presentation was bittersweet as the speaker contrasted the lives of elephants living free with ones held captive. It was heartwarming to see them in their natural habitat and how magnificent they were in behavior and appearance.
In contract, it was heartbreaking to see the ones in circuses with their broken spirits and abused, sickened bodies. No entertainment is worth the suffering of another species.
On behalf of our animals, educate yourselves as to what they are forced to endure.
Then, using your moral compass, I hope you do not support any type of entertainment that uses wild elephants.
— Deanna S. Devaul, Madison
Channel 15 news in Madison spoke with circus promoter Bob Sands. Watch full video here:
“We will have a Shrine Circus and it will be in Dane County whether we have to put a tent out at the Shrine Center or find somewhere else to put it,” said Bob Sands, the promotional director for Zor Shrine, shortly before the committee meeting Tuesday evening. “This proposal says on county owned facilities. We will have a Shrine Circus and we will have elephants.”
At last night’s Public Works and Transportation meeting circus promoter Bob Sands was quoted as saying,
“I don’t know how you mistreat an elephant other than starve them to death, and they’re certainly not going to do that.”
We realize these photos are not from the George Carden circus, with whom the Shriners contract, but these pictures are typical examples of how elephants are broken in order for them to be ready to face the public.
Sands also said that George Carden told him he treats his elephants better than he treats family members. Here you can see Carden’s record. See photos and read entire article here: