Cancel Elephant Show at Fair

circus elephant

Target: Durham Fair Officials

Goal: Cancel the Elephant Encounter Show due to cruel treatment of elephants

The Durham Fair began in 1916, and has become a tradition that is still going on today. During the last full weekend in September, the fairgrounds are transformed into Connecticut’s largest agricultural fair. Although it is an “agricultural fair,” there is an Elephant Encounter Show. By hosting this show, the Fair is “supporting the captivity, mistreatment and exploitation of elephants for entertainment,” according to Rachel Mann of Connecticut.

The Durham Fair Association does not believe that it is mistreating the elephants. In fact, the elephants are treated as “family elephants.” Despite saying that these elephants are “family elephants,” William (Bill) Morris, the owner of Elephant Encounter, was videotaped hitting the Asian elephant, Cora, with a bullhook in 2003. Furthermore, Morris has violated federal standards for the care of animals used in exhibition as established in the Animal Welfare Act.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has also cited Morris for repeatedly failing to provide adequate veterinary care and a nutritional diet to two undersized elephants. In addition, Morris was cited for not providing shelter from the elements and adequate ventilation for his elephants. That is certainly not how “family elephants” should be treated.

People have spoken against the Elephant Encounter Show, stating that they will boycott the fair and businesses that support the fair if the show is not removed from the entertainment line up. Sign the petition to boycott the Durham Fair until the Elephant Encounter Show is cancelled.


Dear Officials with the Durham Fair,

William Morris, the owner of Elephant Encounter, has been cited for mistreating the elephants in his show. He calls them “family elephants,” but do not care for them as evidenced by the numerous citations given by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to Morris for repeatedly failing to provide adequate veterinary care and a nutritional diet to two undersized elephants. In addition, Morris was cited for not providing shelter from the elements and adequate ventilation for his elephants.

You said you have talked with Morris and are convinced he treats the animals well. Based on this talk you had with Morris, you defended the decision to bring the elephants to this year’s 94th Durham Fair. You said your intent “was purely for the educational aspects of having this rare experience of witnessing these awesome animals in a controlled environment.” These animals are awesome. Hence, they should not continue to be mistreated and misused. Stop forcing these animals to perform tricks for the rest of their lives. Also, demand Morris take better care of them.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Walter Baxter

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  1. Why people want to go and watch this? I work in a morgue, why don’t you give me your children if you want them to see awful things for their age?? I rather my children watch a rotting body (which is a normal part of life) than watching animal torture. SICK PEOPLE.

    • Fernanda, this is a sick world, where slaugthering, torturing and abusing animals is “normal”, as well as beating, starving, erasing, polluting, destroying… Sick, insane, cruel world. I correct myself: sick, insane, cruel humans.

    • Well said, and what a wonderful idea. People should not fear death and your idea would help teach them. People should fear animal abuse because not only is it morally wrong but “you’re next” . It’s a well documented fact that animal abusers move on to people.

      • That’s totally true Holly. I explain that to a lot of people and show them proof also in order to shut up the ones saying things like: “Oh, come on, it’s only an animal” or “God gave us, in the Bible, power over animals, we can do whatever we want with them” and many ridiculous excuses that make me go crazy just by remembering them. So I tell to them things like: 65% of animal abusers are child and woman beaters, would you like this “nice man” kicking a dog marry your daughter now? If not, go to the police. They won’t be doing it for the poor dog but the result, to me, would be the same if the dog is safe. Probably the police is not the one who will help but I am sure many neighbours would make sure he never owns a dog again or they will steal the dog, I saw it happen. Sadly with cats is different, somehow people despise them. That’s why I rescue cats in my country. I just would love to understand what is wrong with people that can’t live with non human animals in harmony (Like Laura said, why many humans are so sick, insane and cruel). Then I remember we can’t live with human animals in harmony either sometimes. Will that ever change? Will next generations evolve sometime?
        I know I won’t see it change, I just expect for many generations to come to see us as a barbaric society and understand that we are one with the earth and everything in it. And that no one is better than any other living creature.
        I am no saint as I really wish eye for and eye when I see torture, I can’t forgive. I live in Latin America, it’s worst here than in many other countries with serious laws about it.
        Thanks for your reply, it made me very happy to read it as well as Laura’s. It’s a pleasure to know people like you are around 🙂
        Love from Buenos Aires, Argentina.-

  2. humans are despicable, we don’t deserve sharing such a beautiful planet with these amazing creatures if all we do is destroy. What a shame!

  3. Marco Corsino · Technical Support at Infotech Enterprises America, Inc.
    “Seriously, f*ck elephants.”

    Anthony Sorge
    “Well said”

    SHAME ON YOU BOTH. F*CK ELEPHANTS? F*CK YOU!!!!!!! Why share your vicious comments here?

    • You’re welcome. Banding together to help animals, standing up against animal abuse both f2f , petitions, rallies and education, hopefully we will win more converts as time slowly moves forward. I love all animals, have rescued my dog and 2 cats from the street. Would rescue an elephant if possible. We just need to keep together and work harder for the animals.

    • Because they have a serious screw loose and are exactly the type of people who harm others (Marco and Anthony). However, dropping to their level with further profanities hurts our cause and tho it may feel good to say it back, it’s counterproductive and only *engages* sick minds. Better to ignore those vicious comments than to engage them only upsetting yourself. The end results are the same except that you’re hurting and they’re long gone (unless they are trolls) said with love.

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