You can tell a lot about an organization by who it hires.

Garden Bros. Circus still works with disreputable exhibitors whose rap sheets of federal animal-welfare violations are long and disturbing: Failing to provide animals with adequate veterinary care, manhandling them until they’re traumatized, denying them healthy, uncontaminated food and safe enclosures.

A former employee reported frequently seeing elephants with blood dripping from behind their ears and camels kicked and punched, but the abuse and neglect start at the top. Another whistleblower testified that Zachary Garden, the circus’ manager, ordered that a paralyzed baby goat be left to die and beat a zebra so savagely with a three-foot rod that the animal collapsed.

Alarmed by the circus’ callous disregard for animals’ well-being, venues from Missouri to Virginia to Georgia have canceled performances.

People who care about animals will avoid the Ira Civic Center when Garden Bros. Circus performs Monday. Others should remember that every ticket purchased sanctions their abuse.

John Di Leonardo

MS, Anthrozoology

Manager, Animals in Entertainment campaign

PETA

Norfolk, VA

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