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Hippo Dies After Months of Circus Neglect

Written by Jennifer O'Connor | January 29, 2015

Animals continue to suffer and die while in the “care” of the notorious Carson & Barnes Circus. A hippopotamus named Katie, whom the circus had hauled around the country, was found dead. Her spine and hip bones were protruding, yet the circus had never weighed her and wasn’t tracking her body condition before she died.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cited the circus for denying adequate veterinary care to Katie as well as to another underweight animal, an elephant named Nina, who has been losing weight since 2013 and has lost 500 pounds in the last several months alone.

Nina, an Elephant with Carson and Barnes Circusphoto by Deborah Robinson

Nina is the same elephant a witness caught on video being viciously hit with a bullhook by a handler, who swung the weapon like a baseball bat. The witness was appalled by what he saw, saying, “This was not an ‘attention getter,’ this worker reared back and swung the club with all his might, twice. You could hear the whack as the club struck the elephant.”

The inspection report also notes that a llama, Bandit, had excessively overgrown hooves, yet the circus had not even noticed them, let alone trimmed them. Not only can overgrown hooves be painful, as the report notes, the condition can also lead to chronic problems like arthritis.

What You Can Do

Enough is enough. Ask the USDA to seize the animals Carson & Barnes continues to neglect in apparent violation of federal law.

Commenting is closed.
  • Wow so sad 🙁 Poor baby dying alone from starvation. Ughh just unimaginable! Being starved to death is an excruciating death. These people are not human. Why are they not in jail? Spain has just band the use of animals in the circus. I hope other countries do the same. Heartbreaking 🙁

  • sandra lenart says:

    After the recent death of the female Hippo all the animals should be seized from this neglectful circus,they should not be allowed to continue to operate at the expense of the lives of these innocent animals.

  • Anyone who condones this cruelty and abuse is as guilty as the NARCISSISTIC culprit!

  • ken maguire says:

    shame on humans for the kidnap, abuse and murder of our fellow earthlings 🙁 there is nothing humane about humans

  • dot meyr says:

    Animals DO NOT belong in the circus – never!

  • We have to stand up for those poor animals! All animals have the right to be born free and to live free!

  • Claire Joyce says:

    Wild animals do not belong in the circus even when they recieve humain treatment. When they are neglected or suffer abuse it is a criminal act and should be punished by massive fines, closure and prison. Please the very least is to seize these poor animals !

  • MZT says:

    close down carson circus immediately for the sake of these animals

  • Hayley Rangen says:

    Sent the USDA an email – show your outrage to them and get something done about it – no animal should be in a circus anyway.

  • Kathy Jordan says:

    Let the animals go to a sanctuary! They deserve peace, love and FREEDOM! These people that own the circus just care about making $ not the animals as you can see how they are treated!

  • Qhoirun Nisak says:

    This is absolutely wrong! This should be stopped or else they will continue to torture and abuse the animals. It really breaks my heart to see this and I just can’t hold my tears seeing all these :'(

  • Lori Watson says:

    This is horrific and just plain awful. Shame on the monsters that continue to abuse these beautiful animals.

  • Audrae says:

    This is disgraceful and this circus needs to be shut down and stopped .These poor animals have suffered enough do something to help them .

  • Nicole K. Mariani says:

    USDA and other enforcement -pull these animals out of their hell! We are their voices, no animal should live like that!!!

  • LYN Murray says:

    Shut down the whole circus and ban them from ever owning an animal again

  • Deborah Titmus says:

    Evil people – happy to make money from the animals but not prepared to provide their basic needs. Can’t believe how vile these people are.

  • They should just simply BAN any circus that has animals. It is a bloody disgrace and cruelty is more continuously being found. BAN THE ANIMAL CIRCUS!!

  • Stacey says:

    I think they are starving animals to cut costs I do not support circus I would not encourage people to support these types of organizations animals belong in the wild

  • Janet says:

    OMG!!! This makes me so sad!!! How can some human beings have absolutely no compassion for these living animals!!! Makes me SICK!!! Please stop The Abuse!!!

  • Vanessa says:

    People should stopping going to the circus. They don’t belong to cage and getting trained just to entertain human. Not to mention all the travel on the road.

  • Marianne Mc Donald says:

    Please take all Animals out of circuses. Ban Animals in circuses. Release them to a sanctuary. Punish these cruel people to the fullest extent. No excuse for this neglect and cruelty. Sickening.

  • Stephanie says:

    They don’t need animal they need to put them in wild life

  • Jessica says:

    God didnt place these animals on the earth to be treated like this. Its mankind who took it upon themselves to act like morons. Treat others how you want to be treated that includes animals too.

  • donna hanneken says:

    Outrageous that the animals are not taken away from this circus

  • Helen Jamieson says:

    Enough is enough stop the animal abuse there is no reason to let this go on 🙁

  • Virginia Schmidt says:

    Please ensure the USDA does something about such autrosidy against these poor animals and get them to shut down these diliberate acts of cruelty and ban all circuses.

  • Pat Harris says:

    God we’ve got to save these inocent animals please.

  • carol steinhoff says:

    when are we going to hold the circus accountable for their cruelty They have been getting away with this for years. Are we such a callous society that we can’t resolve this problem. Or is our government too busy trying to make money to really look at what is going on in our country.

  • Carson and Barnes continue to neglect animals and therefore should not be allowed to have the animals such as this. The USDA should act now and seize any animals before it’s too late! Most people do not support and importance being used for entertainment.

  • Deborah Cicione says:


  • Yvette Marano says:

    I have just sent an email to the USDA. enough is enough

  • How dare we still allow these barbaric cruel abuse towards all animals. Circuses should be banned from having these beautiful souls acting and performing for humans. They were never meant to be put on THIS earth for our entertainment.
    this circus and all zoos should be xlosed down…cited for animal abuse and never be allowed to ever own any animal ever again.

  • Madeleine Taylor says:

    Horrible, shut them down right away and get the animals to decent caring homes

  • Pat says:

    I don’t understand why they are still allowed to have animals. I wish the US would ban live animal acts in circuses and rodeos.

  • Alison James says:

    How can we stop this abuse? I don’t want to live in this world anymore with all this cruelty, its unbearable because we just can’t seem to stop it.

  • Dawn says:

    Its time someone steps up and get them out 0f those situations.

  • Stop animals being used in circuses .

  • donna Sonnenberg says:

    Please free these animals. Let them finish their lives on a wildlife reserve

  • sy kang says:

    im so sad about this . please dun watch circus

  • rebecca Dallimore says:

    this is absolutely outrageous! it breaks my heart to see wild animals being abused like this & having to suffer & endure years of abuse! this act of cruelty should of been banned many years ago, how are people condoning this behaviour !!!!! to add how are the general public seeing this as entertainment?

  • Lori Watson says:

    The abuse needs to stop. These animals don’t belong in a circus where they are starved to death or don’t get adequate medical care.

  • That’s horrible,they don’t deserve the honour of owning a animal ever again .Thats unforgivable!!!

  • Jane Burgess says:

    I have sent an email to USDA about the mistreatment of these animals. The sooner wild animals are banned from being used in circuses the better. In the UK we’re still trying to get this done, but the current government obviously aren’t bothered about animals.

  • Ken Smith says:

    Enough is enough.Cannot the USDA seize the animals Carson and Barnes continues to neglect .

  • Cindy says:

    Mistreatment of animals is a tragedy and should not be allowed.

    • Debbie Brakebill says:

      Torture and neglect is a crime, so why isn’t someone being punished. Our animal law enforcement is failing these poor animals. The circus is out to make money at the expense of the animals. This has been going on too long…..

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