Borough Pres Asks UniverSoul to "Refrain from Bringing Elephants into ... New York City"
Following a meeting with Long Island Orchestrating for Nature, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and NYCLASS, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams sent a letter to UniverSoul urging the circus to "refrain from bringing elephants into UniverSoul performances in Brooklyn and throughout New York City" because "tools such as bull hooks are barbaric in nature and have no place in any circus." UniverSoul, of course, brought elephants anyway, but we were there to protest. (Update: Eric Adams is now vegan!)
UniverSoul Circus Performances come to a Temporary Halt in NYC
In March 2014, UniverSoul Circus performances in New York City came to a temporary halt after New York City Department of Health inspectors determined, "The animal housing for both species [elephants and tigers] was found to be inadequate to protect the safety of the public and the primary enclosures of the tigers was determined insufficient to allow for adequate freedom of movement."
The USDA had previously cited UniverSoul Circus for failing to provide adequate space, failing to provide an exercise area, and failing to provide adequate barriers between dangerous animals and the public in both April and July of 2013.
Exhibitors used by UniverSoul Circus have repeatedly failed to meet minimum federal standards for the care of animals used in exhibition as established in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Former big-cat exhibitor Mitchel Kalmanson, was cited twice within 4 months for reportedly keeping big cats in cages too small for them to move around. A handler admitted that the animals were kept caged for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the entire four to seven weeks that they were on the road, and sometimes longer while with UniverSoul Circus.
Two elephants on the road with UniverSoul in 2017—Betty and Bo, who are exhibited by Larry Carden—have had more than five years of reactive tuberculosis (TB) tests, suggesting that they are likely TB-positive. This puts arena and circus workers, members of the public, and other animals at risk for being exposed to TB.