Shrine Circus Elephants Dine at the Dallas Farmers Market

Intrepid intern Katie Minchew ran away with the circus—for the afternoon. Read up on her adventures with the elephants at the Dallas Farmers Market:

The Shrine Circus is in town at Fair Park Coliseum until Sunday.

Yesterday, despite the unseasonably chilly weather, three of the show’s Asian elephants—Cindy, Betty, and Bo—presented a little side show at the Dallas Farmers Market where the public was invited to “lunch with the elephants.” Cindy and Betty worked up their appetite giving the kids (and policemen) rides around the ring while Bo lounged behind the scenes awaiting the feast of fruit supplied by the Dallas Farmers Market.

Larry Carden, son of the George Carden of George Carden Circus International, talked me through the feeding of these magnificent pachyderms. They eat 150 squares of hay per week, one thousand dollars of produce each week, and 20 bags of feed every day. They don’t usually get this much produce at a time so “this fruit table will be a treat for them,” said Carden.

Jump for the rest of the story.

Watching the elephants feast was the most entertaining event of the afternoon. With one swoop of her trunk Cindy swiped all the pears in her section to the ground for easier access while Bo curled a pile of whole bananas and carrots into his mouth before sticking his trunk over Cindy’s mouth to check for scraps.

Halfway through the feeding, Bill Cunningham, executive director of the circus, announced his PR speech of the day: “Bo, Cindy, and Bo only eat produce from the Dallas Farmers Market when they’re in town, and you should too.”

After the show, I briskly strolled the market. The colors of the fruits and vegetables were so bright that I never wanted to step in a Target or Tom Thumb again

You can catch Bo, Cindy, and Betty and their colleagues of the Shrine Circus through Sunday ( You can find the ripe fruit and vegetable at the Dallas Farmers Market seven days a week from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. (

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7 responses to “Shrine Circus Elephants Dine at the Dallas Farmers Market”

  1. lynda says:

    Have you not heard what’s going on with the horrible treatment of circus elephants. I am not a member of peta, just an outraged person who believes using these wild animals for our entertainment is heartbreaking. Do not advertise this circus; show this instead!

  2. bluebird says:

    i avoided this event like the plague. but i noticed that the DMN dutifully covered it up the wazoo, too. using elephants as a cheap $5 amusement seemed like an odd choice by the Dallas Farmers Market, since it seems to run counter to what you would think a farmers’ market would be about, IE wise and conscientious stewardship of the earth’s resources. there are plenty of $5 “amusements” that don’t involve separating animals from their mothers at a premature point in their development so they can be broken and then trained to do tricks for us.

    pretty disappointed in the Dallas Farmers Market.

  3. Janie M says:

    We love elephants and instead of going to the circus we now enjoy watching elephants living in a natural setting on a live web cam at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Tara an Asian elephant adopted a stray dog named Bella they roam over thousands of acres together. This is where we first saw what rescued, abused circus elephants look like when they arrive at the sanctuary. It is worse them I could have ever imagined.

  4. Jason says:

    Stupid slime cops. With so many citizens protesting circuses, it looks great to have the Dallas anti-animal rights police chum up with the abused. Do you ride human victims too, you dirt bags?

  5. notliberal says:

    Do the animals in the pictures look mistreated? Some animal rights activists blow up research facilities, should we lock all animal activists up?

    The Persians used War Elephants in the battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC. But I am sure that all the circus people treat them much worse than Darius and Alexander. Carrying kids around the farmers market has to be much worse then charging into a line of infantry armed with spears and arrows.

    I don’t recall elephants being an indigenous species to Tennessee, thank you for informing me they have a natural setting there.

  6. Jason says:

    Hey notliberal moron:

    What if the Persians treated them worse? Who gives a crap? Treating them bad today is still wrong, even if its better than the worst ever. It like saying its okay for me to smack a few kids around because some kids were treated worse before. You dumb moron.

  7. Jason says:

    Furthermore, having them as SLAVES is WRONG. I don’t care if they get back rubs everyday (which they don’t…elephants will ONLY perform such stupid circus tricks because they are beaten and tortured during training to do it or else). You are such a moron.