VIDEO: Circus will go on

Sandusky Speeday, circus owner both say show will go on despite PETA protest
Andy Ouriel
Aug 11, 2014

A national touring circus performing in Sandusky on Tuesday faces scrutiny from the world’s leading animal rights organization.

Further compounding the controversy: A popular race car driver urged management at Sandusky Speedway, hosting the Carson & Barnes Circus, to cancel the show altogether.

On behalf of PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, ARCA Racing Series driver Leilani Münter, a vegan and environmentalist, sent a letter to the Sandusky Speedway to not host the circus.

A related news release, which the Register obtained, contends an eyewitness gave sworn testimony about a 2013 incident alleging a Carson & Barnes Circus employee beat an elephant — by both electrocuting and poking the animal with a sharp object — as four children sat on her back. Münter's letter also included a graphic video allegedly showing a circus trainer abusing an elephant.

Her letter also references Carson & Barnes racking up more than 100 citations, governed by the Animal Welfare Act, by mistreating animals and endangering the public.

“You and I both know that tigers don’t naturally jump through rings of fire, elephants don’t stand on balls or balance on their heads and bears don’t ride bikes,” Münter wrote in a letter the Register obtained. “So why do they behave this way in the circus? It’s not because they are offered praise or treats in return. It’s because they are violently beaten into submission.”

Animals traveling with the Carson & Barnes Circus, according to Münter, “are mistreated, overworked to the point of exhaustion and, all too often, neglected and denied access to veterinary care for injuries inflicted by handlers or sustained as a result of the grueling circus life they are forced to endure, all so that we can be ‘entertained.’”

Despite the concerns, Sandusky Speedway race director Kevin Jaycox said the show will go on as planned Tuesday, with two separate performances at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Circus reaction

Carson & Barnes Circus dismissed PETA’s and Münter’s concerns.

“We take good care of our animals,” circus owner Kristin Parra told the Register. “The safety of our animals is our No. 1 concern.”

Either veterinarians or those representing a local, state or federal agency inspect each circus animal — elephants, a donkey, llamas, a miniature zebra, a camel and more — at least once every 30 days, Parra said.

“We do this everyday,” Parra said. “We have been doing this for 78 years, and people all across the country have a right to protest. That is fine. But my concern is not what the protesters are doing. My concern is to make sure we have a good show, and the public can come out, enjoy the show and take away lasting memories.”

Others even vouch for the circus and disregard certain claims made by organizations such as PETA.

“Animal-rights extremists have been misrepresenting (elephants) to support their agenda, which includes eliminating elephants in captivity, putting the livestock industry out of business and removing companion animals from our homes,” said Missouri-based Dr. Dennis Schmitt, who specializes in elephant medical management. “The leadership of many extremist groups appears to purposely mislead their membership and the general public to encourage indignation and initiate action. This well-funded minority is extremely vocal, attracts media attention through their stunts and emotion-based rhetoric and attempts to influence elected officials in communities where these extremists don’t even reside.”

Carson & Barnes Circus employees also said the video Münter references is almost 20 years old. PETA officials didn’t verify when the video was made.


k9unit horrible. If they allow the circus to come to town hopefully no one will go.


After looking at the video linked in the letter, I am disgusted at the treatment the elephants are receiving.

Bad move, speedway.


I am sickened by the video. The Speedway needs to cancel the circus. As for that so called piece - of - *hit trainer.... All I can say is Karma is a bi&ch. A hopefully one of those gentle souls will knock him clear across the barn. BTW... I am being nice , because what I would really like to say, would get me deleted.

The Don

I was gonna go but now not a chance. That is just disgusting

lunchtime 175

Is this the same circus that is coming to Tiffin this Wednesday?


I was fired up about the bear act that was brought into the Erie County Fair, and then found out that they brought in a tiger act last summer. WHEN are people going to realize that (1) these animals did not *choose* to live this lifestyle, and (2) they are treated poorly and exploited simply so greedy humans can make money. Now the circus is coming to town? DISGUSTING. I am appalled. At least some are watching the video to get an inside glimpse of what these animals who live at least half their year "on the road" go through. More people need to be made aware.


Risking death for kicks and money by driving in circles while polluting the air, wasting fuel, and making ear splitting noise is so much more ethical. She just lives in a different glass house.

VTX Rider

Apples to oranges there Factitious. She chooses to race in circles, pollute that air and waste fuel. (I myself like the noise :) I don't believe she is beaten and forced to participate. These animals are beat and kept in captivity where they don't belong. They have no choice.

Have a fantastic Monday.




Apples and oranges, yes; your grasp of the obvious is...something, not sure what. I did say DIFFERENT glass house. I never agreed to suffer the effects of her pointless air and noise pollution. Low grade circuses and low grade auto racing each pander to different degenerate tastes. Personally, I like figure-eights, demo derby, and derby ball - on TV.

VTX Rider

Thank you for pointing out the obvious Mr. Obvious. Just kidding. Don't get all upset and speak condescendingly to me now.

If you suffer from the effects of her pointless air and noise pollution then you might consider relocating to a more peaceful area.


There is one big difference, factitious. These animals have nooo choice. She and other drivers choose do that and observers choose to go. What choice do these animals have?!


The trainers need the same kind of treatment done to them

Licorice Schtick

The link to the video -

JMOP's picture

I don't wanna even watch the video. I love elephants. I always skip the circuses because I feel the traveling around must be a discomfort to all the animals. I also feel like a hypocrite because I enjoy looking at them at the zoo.


I'm a member of the other PETA-People Eating Tasty Animals. No where does it show that the named circus was the one performing the acts shown on the video. I wouldn't put it past them to stage something like this to get sympathy and money.


PETA has no problem distorting the facts to promote their extremist agenda. They are not above depicting unusual situations as typical. Their antics also discredit the environmental movement, with which they get confused by the public, even though they have little in common.


I'm not going to pretend to be a vegetarian. I'm not going to pretend I'm an anti-hunting activist. What I WILL say, though, is that there's no reason for animals to be tortured. EVER.

I understand more exotic animals may end up in captivity whether it's important for captive breeding programs to shore up a species, or it's because a particular animal can no longer live in the wild due to injury or having been orphaned. But again, there's no reason to torture those animals, and that's what at least THIS circus has been doing.

Nobody here is buying any tickets, either, and I'll be discouraging others from buying, too. If common decency won't speak to these people, maybe their bottom line will!

The Bizness

I don't often agree with you, but well said.


Thanks! May I humbly suggest we both pause just a second to savor this moment before I comment on something else somewhere else and things get back to normal? :-)




Sandusky Speedway, please cancel this show!
I'm not a circus expert but I'm sure there must be circus's that pride them selves on fair treatment if animals. The circus is a sort of "right of passage"( for lack of better words) for a child in America. But at what cost? The harm of its animals and possible danger the audience is put in! We've all seen the videos of when the animals finally decide they have had enough. I don't want to read about it in our local news! PLEASE Sandusky Speedway, cancel this show!!
Pass this articles on to all your friends! Make this the pitition to STOP THE SHOW!

Blackberry Phale

Seriously, this woman is not in NASCAR, and she is not even listed in the points in ARCA. Just another greeny wanting the spotlight.


Or perhaps just a woman with a conscience.


There is NO where in any of the videos that this was done by the circus or its handlers that will be at Sandusky Speedway. Sandusky Speedway and its property is a business, just like the infomercials that play on network tv late at night, the tv stations do not condone or support what you are about to see or any of the content. Same goes for the Speedway. Sandusky Speedway is not condoning or affiliated with the circus, in any way shape or form. They are simply "renting" them some land for a few hours. Get a grip people, as far as we know those videos could have been made by a rival circus act, or anyone for that matter. If the elephant had the name of the circus tattooed on it then there would be a reason to be concerned. But it's not, and therefore isn't. So everyone grab the youngens and go to Sandusky Speedway and enjoy the show.


No proof but if there is even a doubt, have to say no.
Animals have no choices, humans do.


OMG She's F'ing HOT!.. Let's stop it based on that, alone!.. Seriously though; we should boycott this event if the Sandusky Speedway decides to go through with it.. They don't need that kind of bad publicity.. I LOVE the Sandusky Speedway, but this is absurd!..


sugar, I understand what your saying to a point. Our pet dogs, cats, birds and all pets for that matter don't have "choices" either does that mean we shouldn't have pets? Same with babies, do infants have choices? Should people stop having babies? This video, was most likely sabbotage from a rival circus. Remember everyone is innocent until proven guilty, this goes for circuses as well.


Thank You, Sandusky Register for letting people know whar REALLY goes on at the circus. Please everyone, share this article on your FACEBOOK page so others will know how horrible these shows are.


What is really tragic is that no one does research anymore. One side makes a statement and every one RUSHES to believe them. PETA are extremists. Secondly they pay $10,000 for video proof of the circus harming animals. SO YEAH! I'm sure those videos are all on the up and up....
The circus is required to follow regulations set up by the federal government and the state in regards to how they treat their animals.
I'm not naive enough to believe that all regs are followed every minute of every day, but I also don't believe that they aren't checked into often and that when someone sees abuse it isn't being dealt with immediately.
If PETA has it's way, no one would ever eat meat again, all animals would be put on a pedestal, and humans should be on the endangered species list.
So glad to once again see unbiased reporting in the paper... Heck SR didn't even try to give the other side... point to links showing how they respond to allegations such as these? Nothing. That says a LOT to me.


I can't discount the claim that PETA is an extremist group because, from virtually every account I've ever heard, it is. That does nothing, however, to somehow mitigate mistreatment of animals when it DOES occur, nor does it in any way make constant transport and frequent performance a remotely natural way for an animal to live.

While I respect what the circus' spokesperson has to say, I submit that seeing a tiger jump through hoops or an elephant stand on its hind legs isn't "educational" for children. What could, after all, be more unnatural than that? I'm not even a big fan of zoos, but have come to consider them a sad necessity for a number of reasons, not least of which is a more appropriate education for kids!


Ever since a PETA lady at BGSU got mad at my son for stepping on a bug in the grass, I've totally hated PETA. Old creepy then walked across the same grass not knowing if she was stepping on even smaller bugs. These PETA libs need to quit driving their cars in order to end the killing of poor bugs by windshields and animals in the road. And electric dog devices around their neck to give them zaps with when they get close to these murdering cars. PETA, the ACLU, and SOUTHPARK...all the same to me.
By the way, it's not the mistreatment of animals of any kind that I condone, it's just the over blowing of things by PETA. Geez..."Watch out!!! Don't step on the (can't remember what she called the bug). How would you like it if a big kid stepped on you!"


This situation really has nothing to do with PETA. This is human compassion for a used animals. You don't need PETA to tell you what you see in the video is wrong!


Actually she spoke of her membership in PETA and made my son who was with me wonder why she was mad at him. So PETA is PETA no mater the death or treatment of any living creature. We don't need PETA telling us what is bad regarding the treatment of anything. They say that an animal can't speak for itself. Neither can a 20 week baby in the womb of a woman who is about to abort it. Tonight for you it's an elephant. Tomorrow is the way chickens are treated for the eggs. Cow farts. Animal poop in streams, then rivers, then lakes. Sure, the animals are intentionally treated bad, and that's wrong. It's kind of like religion. Some violent ones or plain silly ones ruin it for all the rest of the good religions that honor God AND all people. A lot of silly PETA people ruin is for the PETA ones that do good. I personallt don't care to see Lions and Tigers and elephants. They ought to send them back to the miserable countries they came from, along with a lot of the people who are here illegally. As far as the video goes...I'd like to kick the crud out of the arrogant moron giving the other man instructions. To see on video, this guys guts splattered all over the others by the hoofs of the mistreated beast would be a Hank Junior moment.


I will NEVER support the Sandusky Speedway again if they go through with this and I invite all others to participate in banning any future activities at Sandusky Speedway if they don't cancel this circus!

Tool Box

I agree 100%




PETA is far from perfect and I stopped supporting them long ago for several reasons. However, that does not mean they don't have something to contribute to the discussion of animal abuses that have been well-documented. Here's the thing: on one side we have people who believe that animals are here for human exploitation (for example, the Amish, who have NO respect for animals, horrifically abuse them for money and entertainment, and believe that they are "beasts of burden" to be used as humans see fit). On the other side are groups such as PETA, who work very hard to bring to light many of the terrible things that have been done to animals in the name of beauty, entertainment, etc. Yes, they are extreme, but if not for them, our society would not believe it is wrong to use animals in heinous ways to test mascara.

What happens is that we are able to see the extreme views of those on either side of the spectrum. The majority of people will say that they disagree with both sides and in the end, find that they fall somewhere in the middle. So while you may not agree with PETA, it is important to recognize the role that they and other “extreme” groups have played in changing the way society, as a whole, thinks regarding better treatment of animals.



Tool Box

Kevin Jaycox obviously does not care about local interest. He is only after that almighty buck. PETA aside, he should listen to what his customers and very probably former customers are saying in this situation. I say we all stand in front of the entrance to the speedway and don't allow vehicles to pass. He can't do a dang thing to us either!


might be worth going. it just may be the night the elephant has enough. what a show!