Wisconsin Historical Society: Animal Circuses Belong in the History Books!

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At the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin, live animal acts aren’t merely a cruel vestige of history found only in books. Instead, the Wisconsin Historical Society, the taxpayer-funded state agency that owns the museum, stages reenactments of past harms using victims of the present—aging captive elephants who were taken from their families and homes in Asia more than half a century ago and have been forced to live in chains and perform in circuses ever since. These cruel animal acts must end.

A PETA investigator documented that at Circus World, elephants Isa and Viola were forced to perform grueling tricks in shows twice a day, seven days a week. Isa was forced to carry groups of people on her back before and after every show observed, as a handler wielded a sharp bullhook to ensure that she would comply.

The Wisconsin Historical Society paid Carson & Barnes Circus to use Isa and Viola in its shows and even took a cut of the elephant ride profits. Carson & Barnes has an egregious record of mistreatment of animals that includes more than 100 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including while at Circus World, when it was cited for failing to show that it had provided a bony elephant with veterinary care. In 2017, an elephant named Kelly made a break for freedom in Baraboo when her elephant companion removed the bolt from a chain on her leg, releasing her from the barn confining them at Circus World.

Using animals as circus props is a form of speciesism, the human-supremacist belief that it’s acceptable to exploit other animals for human gain. Speak up for elephants now by urging the Wisconsin Historical Society to get with the times and end cruel and archaic animal acts!

Mr.
Wes
Mosman Block
Wisconsin Historical Society

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