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Viola, a 58-Year-Old Circus Elephant, Spotted Jaywalking Through Montana

Image by shamsamir via Depositphotos

In between pedestrians, cars, and houses, an elephant was spotted meandering through the streets of Butte, Montana. Before walking through a gas station, a casino, and a parking lot, the female elephant, Viola, had escaped from the Jordan World Circus, causing multiple road closures.

In fact, this isn’t the first time she’s tried to flee – her other attempts occurred in 2010 and 2014.

The video below showcases Viola, aged 58, walking in a hurry as if seeking freedom. Perhaps it was. After all, the elephant’s owner, Carson & Barnes Circus, which supplied the elderly mammal to Jordan World Circus, has been cited for more than 100 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

“Video shows elephant walking through traffic after escaping circus in Montana”, Source: YouTube, Uploaded: ABC7

The Ongoing Battle Between Animal Welfare and Circuses 

Adult elephants with cube
Adult elephants with cube. Image by GUDKOVANDREY via Depositphotos

Viola’s escape reflects a broader problem surrounding animals in circuses. For decades, even centuries, there have been ongoing accusations of animal abuse, feeding them the bare minimum while requiring the most of their abilities.

Despite growing awareness and advocacy efforts, many animals like Viola continue to endure confinement, mistreatment, and exploitation for the sake of entertainment.

Circuses often subject animals to cramped living conditions, long hours of transportation, and coercive training methods to perform unnatural tricks. Imagine doing that to humans.

Elephant walking in grass. Image by aj-robbie. via Unsplash

These conditions can lead to physical and psychological distress for animals, affecting their wellbeing and quality of life. Elephants, in particular, are highly intelligent and social creatures that require vast spaces and complex social structures to thrive. Without it, they become agitated, sad and lonely.

Viola’s repeated attempts to escape provides a lens into the desperation and suffering experienced by circus animals, from tigers and horses to lions and dogs. Despite being confined to captivity; their innate instincts drive them to seek freedom and autonomy. Unfortunately, such attempts often result in dangerous situations for the animals and the public, as in Viola’s case.

Additionally, the seemingly endless number of violations against the likes of Carson & Barnes Circus underscore the inadequacy of existing regulations in protecting animals. Despite efforts to enforce stricter laws and improve oversight, circus animals continue to face neglect and abuse – there isn’t enough credible supervision.

Baby Elephant Running
Baby Elephant Running. Image by fouroaks via Depositphotos

Fortunately, there has been a shift in public perception regarding the use of animals in entertainment, leading to a decline in the popularity of traditional circuses. Many countries and municipalities have implemented bans or restrictions on using wild animals in circuses, recognizing the inherent cruelty and ethical concerns.

However, much more work is required to ensure the safety and well-being of thousands of other wildlife. Advocacy groups continue to push for stronger legislation and increased awareness of the plight of circus animals, urging individuals to boycott circuses that exploit animals for profit. Only time will tell how effective they are. 

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