Every year the Zor Shrine Circus of Madison employs the George Carden Circus for it’s annual event.
The George Carden Circus is not so spectacular. The George Carden Circus has received numerous citations from the USDA for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The George Carden Circus focuses on their ability to increase profits for local Shrine Centers. The circus prides themselves on the 40,000 miles and 42 weeks they travel throughout the year in the United States and Canada.
The George Carden Circus has two units and has strong ties with the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus, also known as the Cruelest Show on Earth. Feld Entertainment Inc., which produces the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, has agreed to pay $270,000 for violating the Animal Welfare Act on several occasions, according to the USDA. One George Carden Circus unit is currently traveling with Ringling Bros. and the other unit periodically contracts their tiger act with Ringling Bros.
For many years, Alliance For Animals and the Environment organized public protests, educational leafleting, filed USDA complaints, and actively monitored the elephants at the circus in Dane County. Because of the support of AFA volunteers, Wisconsin citizens, and other organizations, the Dane County supervisors banned elephant exhibitions in the county’s exhibition center.
This page was created for all of the individuals and organizations that are sick of the George Carden Circus coming to their town and are looking for information to support their efforts to ban the circus in their community. We hope that the documents below will be useful to you.
The Alliance for Animals is proud to have been part of the Elephants Living Free (ELF) campaign, which labored hard to make Dane County an elephant-free zone, effective 2020. Other Wisconsin counties, other animals, and other venues leave a great deal of work still to be done, though. This information was provided by ELF in the hopes that it can help others create elephant-free zones throughout Wisconsin. All photo credit goes to ELF, and all pictures are of circus elephants in Dane County.
Inspection Reports and Other Documents
- July 30, 2013 – Circus group cited over elephants at Spring Valley summer camp
- Jul 2012 George Carden Permits – Two elephants were denied entry to Wisconsin based on a reactive and positive test results and for TB.
- Mar 16 2012 USDA Inspection Report – Elephants and tigers were exposed to stimuli before and during the performance which cause distress that could result in harm to the animals or the public.
- Mar 16 2012 USDA Inspection Report – Perimeter fence housing animals at home site was not constructed to protect the animals or restrict unauthorized persons from having contact with a dangerous animal.
- Apr 10 2012 USDA Inspection Report – Eight tigers were observed to have hip bones and backbones that are too prominent.
- Mar 22 2011 Complaint Details for Mar 17 2011 USDA Inspection Results – Further evaluation & assessment of elephants to discuss suitability for performance and travel.
- Mar 17 2011 USDA Inspection Report – “Two elephants were observed with severe stiffness of front limbs and abnormal gait. Another elephant was observed to have intermittent stiffness of the front limbs.”
- Mar 16 2011 USDA Inspection Report – Elephants were not supervised or under direct control of a knowledgeable handler while giving rides.
- Mar 5 2009 Circus workers arrested at La Porte bar
- Nov 19 2007 USDA Inspection Report – One elephant had a lesion that resulted from an abscess that ruptured.
- Oct 13 2007 City of Chicago Animal Care and Control – After an informal complaint was made concerning the treatment of the elephants at the circus, city officials were denied entry to inspect the condition of the elephants.
- Apr 29 2006 USDA Inspection Report – No experienced animal handler in the ring with elephants during rides.
- Mar 16 2006 USDA Inspection Report – Open wounds on forehead and leg revealing underlying red tissue.
- Aug 17 2005 USDA Inspection Report – Veterinarian was not informed of an irritated patch of skin founds on an elephant.
- Oc 12 2004 USDA Inspection Report – No record that treatment is being done for a long crack in a toe of Duchess.
- Aug 29 2004 – An agitated elephant attacked circus worker before performance.
- Feb 25 2004 USDA Inspection Report – Non-compliance of the AWA for not providing an adequate veterinary care program.
- Jul 10 2003 USDA Inspection Report – Non-compliance of the AWA for not providing adequate veterinary care for Janice, an elephant with a cracked cuticles, and failing to have an adequate barrier to provide safety to the public and the animals.
- Jun 19 2002 – Menomonie, WI elephant escapes during performance.
- May 1 2001 George Carden fined for animal cruelty
- Apr 4 2001 USDA Inspection Report
- Aug 1 2000 George Carden charged with cruelty to animals
- Jul 23 2000 Nova Scotia province bans bears
- Jul 1 2000 Press Release – Prior to loading, investigators observed the elephant to exhibit extreme signs of abnormal and stressed behaviors, animals were severely confined within enclosures, and several other violations.
- Jun 16 2000 Circus fuss moves to S’Ville
- Jun 13 2000 Diabetes group distances itself from circus
- Jun 12 2000 St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada says no to circus
- Jul 25 1998 USDA Inspection Report – Non-compliance of the AWA for use of physical abuse to handle animals. A handler was observed taunting and forcefully jabbing a tiger through the cage.
- Apr 22 1998 USDA Inspection Report – Non-compliance of the AWA for not having a plan of veterinary care, record of animals on hand, record of acquisition, disposition, or transportation.
- Mar 26 1998 USDA Inspection Report – Elephants were loose in their tent during the performance.
- Jun 24 1997 Eyewitness Complaint – Elephant handler kicked Janice, an elephant in the face, elephant handler used both hands and his full body to force the end of the ankus into the tissue above the foot of an elephant’s leg 8-10 times, and a tiger was whipped in the face.
- Jan 4 1997 USDA Inspection Report – George Carden Circus animals may have been exposed to animals that tested positive for tuberculosis antibodies.
- Oct 16 1996 USDA Inspection Report – Non-compliance of the AWA for lack of veterinary care for Cindy, an elephant who has a history of weight loss and a goat. Nothing had been done to improve Cindy’s condition and goat had a swollen lower neck. Tiger enclosures were in need of repair.
- May 23 1996 USDA Inspection Report
- Apr 25 1996 USDA Inspection Report
- Mar 21 1995 USDA Inspection Report
- Oct 6 1994 USDA Inspection Report – Non-compliance of the AWA for lack of veterinary care & providing safe travel trailers.