Evan Wall owner Garden Bros Circus and Cedric Walker owner of Universoul Circus are partners in Cruelty. Circuses that force animals to perform, such as UniverSoul Circus, are the cruelest shows on Earth! Animals exploited in such performances are abused and punished daily.
UniverSoul has worked for years with disgraced animal exploiters. Federal records show that a limping tiger was denied veterinary care, elephants were denied foot care, and big cats were locked in cramped cages 24/7—all while on tour with the circus. And during a 2017 inspection of the circus in Fulton County, Georgia, officers discovered wounded camels, an injured zebra, elephants with bruised feet, and an elephant with a wound on his ankle.
UniverSoul Circus: Torture for Hire
UniverSoul Circus does not possess an exhibitor license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The animal acts in its shows are leased from outside exhibitors, including many with documented histories of animal abuse and neglect, such as Mitch Kalmanson, Carson & Barnes Circus, and Larry Carden. Thanks to this shady arrangement, UniverSoul is not subject to citations under its own name. However, animal exhibitors performing with UniverSoul have repeatedly failed to meet minimum standards for the care of animals used in exhibition as established by the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
The USDA has cited UniverSoul exhibitors for many violations, including failure to maintain transport vehicles properly as well as failure to provide adequate veterinary care and adequate space. Animals used in UniverSoul shows have also injured humans and other animals.
Following two dangerous tiger escapes from UniverSoul Circus, including one in which a tiger attacked an elephant, Mitch Kalmanson was ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines and to cease and desist from violating the law. What’s more, federal records show that a limping tiger was denied veterinary care, elephants were denied foot care, and big cats were locked in cramped cages 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all while on tour with UniverSoul.
After over 100 years of cruelly forcing animals to perform in circuses is enough.
Mary was an elephant forced to perform in a traveling circus. In 1916 in a Tennesse town, an employee was riding Mary to a watering hole; the elephant went to pick up a piece of watermelon on the ground and the employee jabbed her with a sharp object; Mary reacted in pain and stepped on the employee killing him. The townspeople demanded her death!
Mary was strung up by a crane and publicly hanged to death in retaliation for the cruel mans death. It took two attempts to kill Mary. The first chain placed around her neck snapped, sending her crashing to the ground and breaking her hip. The second attempt was successful. Her broken body was buried nearby. No monument exists to commemorate Mary, just this shocking image, which serves as a haunting reminder of the circus industry’s long history of killing and abuse.
Beating animals and driving them mad for tawdry human entertainment has no place in a civilized society. While kind people hope such shameful acts of exploitation—like hanging Mary from a crane by her neck—have been relegated to the distant past, the uglier side of humanity still seeks to profit from animal abuse. One of those profiteers is UniverSoul Circus.
Animal welfare group PETA has filed a complaint against Huntington-based Hoosier Camel Encounter for alleged animal abuse during circus tours.
The complaint, which the group filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, asks the agency to investigate allegations that a camel was whipped on its feet until they bled and another was punched and kicked. It also alleges abuse of a llama and mistreatment of a buffalo calf.
Reached by phone, Evan Wall, co-owner of Hoosier Camel Encounter, denied the charges, saying he was blindsided by the allegations.
“To me it’s my passion, the animals are,” he said. “Anybody is welcome to come out to our farm to see how they’re taken care of and how they’re loved.”
The complaint targets Garden Bros. Circus and its animal exhibitors, including Hoosier Camel Encounter. PETA notified the media of the complaint in an email Wednesday.
PETA said a whistleblower – a former Garden Bros. employee – contacted it “to report routine abuse, neglect, and public endangerment by the circus’s manager and animal exhibitors.” Other exhibitors named in the complaint are Carson & Barnes Circus employees, Franzen Bros. Circus and Hugo Liebel.
Hoosier Camel Encounter, located south of Huntington at 1359 W. 200 S., provides camel and pony rides and a petting zoo for events such as festivals, company picnics and parties, according to its Facebook page. The PETA allegations refer to incidents in 2016 and early this year.
Richard Bell, a USDA spokesman, said the agency received the complaint and will determine if there are Animal Welfare Act non-compliances that need correcting.
A messages left for a Garden Bros. Circus representative was not immediately returned Wednesday.
PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – said the whistleblower reported Wall whipped camels’ feet, sometimes drawing blood, before performances and once “beat, punched and kicked” one of them for up to 15 minutes as it howled in pain.
It also accused a Hoosier Camel Encounter handler of leading a buffalo calf by a rope attached to a ring in his septum, “inflicting pain with each tug of the rope.”
Wall said he had “no clue” where allegations of whipping and beating animals came from. “You don’t gain respect from an animal or trust from an animal by beating it,” he said. “For them to say I beat an animal for 15 minutes really tears at me.”
He acknowledged the buffalo’s nose ring but said the animal was led by a halter, not the ring. The USDA inspected the pet buffalo, which is still on the farm, and didn’t find a problem, Wall said.
Wall also acknowledged being cited in February by the USDA for a circus trick in which a llama is supposed to jump over a camel. The handler began hitting the llama with a whip, and the animal fell as it attempted the jump.
The handler was “eliminated from his position immediately,” Wall said. “It’s unacceptable. These animals are family. They are not there completely for us. We work together and we work on a one-on-one scale.”
PETA is out to close Garden Bros., which contracts with Hoosier Camel Encounter to travel on circus tours, Wall added.
“Their starting point is to get circuses completely shut down,” he said. “So that’s where all that is coming from.”
Please take action here: https://support.peta.org/page/1344/action