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Carson & Barnes Circus Lets Sick Llama Suffer

Written by Jennifer O'Connor | April 17, 2014

Even though Carson & Barnes Circus has garnered more than 100 citations for noncompliance with the federal Animal Welfare Act, it continues to break the law. In the latest case, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) slapped the circus with an “official warning” for failing to provide a sick, thin llama named Nicoli with veterinary care.

Circus employees noticed that Nicoli was having problems back in early November—the veterinarian found that the llama’s right eye likely had been punctured two to three weeks prior to the USDA’s December 17, 2013, inspection. Whatever care employees may have been providing apparently had been discontinued when the USDA inspector saw Nicoli in mid-December.

The inspector noted that Nicoli’s right eye was cloudy and that he saw discharge coming out of both eyes: “Injuries and infections of the eyes are usually painful and may lead to loss of vision. The condition affecting this llama’s eyes has now worsened but no contact with a veterinarian had been made prior to this inspection.”

The circus’ supervisor claimed that two staff members were in charge and that one of them has several years of experience. The inspector noted, “This is not reflected in the condition of the animal facilities nor in the observation of problems with animal health and well-being.”

What You Can Do

Ask the USDA to stop coddling animal exhibitors and take decisive action to stop circus cruelty by revoking licenses and seizing animals in trouble.