HOUSTON – Carson and Barnes said they have been in business for more than 80 years and are greeted by protesters everywhere they go.
Some of what they're opposed to, for instance, while an elephant was bathed at the circus site in Brazoria County, he laid down. Both sides argue whether it was a voluntary move for the animal.
"These are things we do everyday to care for these beautiful, Asian female elephants," elephant trainer, Dean Manual, said. He insists the elephants lie down because they enjoy water.
"Everything is taught of fear and intimidation, cruelty," Dolly Vyasahjua protested.
Another controversy is about the so-called guide, which the protesters call a bullhook. Manuel compares it to a dog's leash.
"This is just the tool we use as if you were taking your dog for a walk or walking a horse or anything like that. It's just a tool," he said.
The animal rights activists who gathered on the circus grounds are furious.
"It's all fear tactics. None of these animals would do these tricks in the wild," Vyasahjua said.
The circus is in town throughout the month, making stops in Houston and Pasadena, company leaders dismiss the protesters as people entitled to their own opinion.
Protesters said their opinion is fact.
"Elephants, horses, dogs, exotic animals, are torn from their home and families, denied the opportunity to live by their natural instincts," Vyasahjua said.