Animal Abuse!! Ringling Brothers and Carson / Barnes Circus




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Published on Sep 2, 2007

A PETA undercover investigator obtained footage in March 1999 of
vicious elephant beatings at Carson & Barnes Circus. Tim Frisco, the
circus' animal care director and longtime elephant trainer, was caught
on tape violently attacking, shocking with an electric prod, and
screaming and cursing at endangered Asian elephants. Frisco is heard
on the tape instructing other elephant trainers to hurt the elephants
until they scream, "holler," and run away; to use both hands to beat
the elephants with a bullhook; and to sink the bullhook's metal spike
into their flesh and twist it back and forth until they scream in
Says Frisco on the tape, "Sink that hook into 'em ... when you hear
that screaming then you know you got their attention. ... Right here
in the barn. You can't do it on the road. ... I'm not gonna touch her
in front of a thousand people. ... She's gonna fucking do what I want
and that's just fucking the way it is." Frisco can also be heard
shouting, "I am the boss, I will kick your fucking ass," with regard
to the elephants.

Frisco is "still employed by Carson & Barnes."

Footage of Tim Frisco's abusive training session can be viewed on
PETA's web site Circuses.com.

Sadly though, elephants are typically broken and made to fear their
handlers by means of force. Ray Ryan, who worked with elephants at the
San Diego Wild Animal Park, is now convinced that most elephant
trainers use punishment to dominate elephants.

In his book, Keepers of the Ark: An Elephant's View of Captivity, Ryan
describes the attitude that persists among most elephant keepers: "How
dare the elephants fight back when we ask them to do a certain
behavior? They're on this planet to serve us in any way we see fit,
and if any one of them chooses to do otherwise, he or she will pay the

Bullhooks are routinely used by elephant trainers because, according
to Veterinarian Sara Winikoff and other elephant experts, an elephant
will not voluntarily perform difficult, physically strenuous and
painful maneuvers many times a day on command. "No form of positive
reinforcement alone will elicit these unnatural behaviors," says

Jane Garrison, PETA's elephant specialist, agrees. As Garrison told
the Today show host Katie Couric, when she appeared with Pacelle to
discuss Ringling's treatment of animals, it's ridiculous to think that
circuses are training animals with positive reinforcement. "If that
were the case," said Garrison, "the trainers would be carrying a bag
of food treats, not a bullhook..."

In addition to Tim Frisco's violent beatings, PETA's investigator also
videotaped a handler at Carson & Barnes Circus using a blowtorch on an
elephant's skin to remove hair, and chained elephants and caged bears
rocking and swinging their heads endlessly--the extreme stereotypic
behavior caused by mental distress.


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