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Eyewitness: Elephant Beaten Until She Screamed at Kelly Miller Circus

Written by PETA | August 13, 2013

An eyewitness has come forward to report appalling cruelty to an elephant at the notorious Kelly Miller Circus. The observer, who was on circus premises on August 8, reports that she and her son saw a handler—part of a Carson & Barnes Circus unit traveling with Kelly Miller—use a “stick” that had a sharp hook on the end (i.e., a bullhook) to beat an elephant who was carrying four children on her back. The elephant was reportedly hit so hard that she “screamed,” with each strike producing an audible “whack” sound. The witness swore out an affidavit describing the beating, and PETA has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate.

This is just the latest in a series of recent reports by concerned citizens of abuse and neglect by exhibitors with the Kelly Miller Circus. Other eyewitness accounts described physical abuse and tight, unsafe tethering of animals. While we hope that the USDA will act to protect these animals from further abuse, it’s vital to remember that all animals used by circuses are suffering – please never attend any circus that uses animals, and choose animal-friendly entertainment instead.

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  • Lisa Perry says:

    When are circuses going to be outlawed??? I would not have had any sympathy if that elephant had gone on the rampage with four children on its back. Parents are ignorant for continuing to take their children to these animal cruelty events AND for putting their children on the backs of these poor abused creatures. I would like to beat that POS til he screams for mercy. Worthless a-holes.

  • Ellen says:

    Please do something about these cruel acts of violence towards animals. First, there’s no reason to bear that elephant. NONE! Second, what IF the elephant got upset and charged the man that was beating it with the children riding it. Elephants are very intelligent animals and this is not how they are truly meant to live! Not only is this cruelty painful to the elephant but it also hurts the people who are around seeing it (it hurt me to just read and imagine what that poor elephant must be going through), and it teaches our children that it’s ok to treat animals like that. PLEASE END CIRCUSES and do something about this incident, and fight to stop any future incidents!!

  • wendy mciver says:

    This is sick and anybody who would pay to go to a circus knowing how these poor creatures are treated are sick individuals. Help prevent this cruelty not encourage it by going to cicuses.

  • jaana jaakkola says:

    ban live animals in circuses for ever!! Punish these people who did this to an elephant!

  • Linda Koestler says:

    That is just so sick!!! First of all animals shouldn’t be handled for our amusement. Second if you can’t handle the stress working with animals then don’t! Simple as that.. Mankind should finally understand that we are not No1 of the world.

  • Molly Buffham says:

    Animals are not ours to hurt! Stop this, PLEASE!

  • Deborah rose says:

    This has to stop

  • Nancy Spilberg says:

    These circuses NEED to be stopped! Banned forever!! Abuse needs to stop now! Forever!! These elephants suffer abuse! They need to be free, not giving rides to children!!! Abusers need to be punished!!!

  • Erin Jelley says:

    I am heart broken that this is going on and has for years it needs to stop aren’t we past all this….. shouldn’t we be teaching our children that CONSERVATION is the key!!!! Not animals entertaining humans!!!

  • christina gens says:

    pleas, please, please stop doing these things…

  • Vicky says:

    My favorites of all is the Elephant. Cruelty is not necessary especially with 4 children riding her. She is a good elephant as she chose to not do harm, even under her distress.

  • Michelle Regi says:

    This is uncalled for…Seriously this animal abuse has to stop. Circus shouldn’t even be allowed.

  • nina paccione says:

    I have been against animal abuse in circuses fro years. Especially baby elephants and Full grown elephants the have been beaten, tortured with bull hooks, Forced under abuse until they submit to their abusers to preform circus acts. This is animal abuse and not entertain ent.

  • Rachel Stew says:

    Please help stop this abuse. I will never attend any circus that uses animals as entertainment!!!

  • susan says:

    this is AMERICAN people..As Usual..what is wrong with us..why do we hurt these magestic animals ? why do we feel we have the right to do this…STOP going to live animal shows .circus’s..gator shows ..bear shows..tiger lion alll of it…how the helll do you think they get these wild animals to submit to do it ??? wake up these beautiful animals…ONLY we can stop this…because the poor broken animals CAN”T …

  • Caitlin Davis says:

    Absolutely horrific. I am boycotting circuses altogether. No animal should be harmed by a human- ever. This makes me sick. Period.

  • nina paccione says:

    I have been against circus animals being abused especially elephants with bullhooks and beaten until they have no choice to give in this torture and preform the tricks. This is without a doubt animal abuse!!

  • Alexa Thirel says:

    i love animalssssss

  • Patricia Monnett says:

    That is so disgusting what the circus does to these poor helpless animals. We are there voice.

  • Monica Gnosca says:

    Stop torturing elephants, try to think to be at their place. Torture animals is inacceptable! Sincerely,Monica Gnosca (Switzerland)

  • katrina says:

    I LOVE ELEPHANTS and will spread the word of this to everyone I know animals are amazing big and small I want to make it my life mission to keep every single one safe

  • Roberta Nava says:

    I have not or will never ever go to a circus that uses animals! This is horrifying what these beautiful animals have to endure. Why don’t we put those cowardly trainers in their place and see how they like it! There needs to be a law passed banning of all circus’s that use any type of animals! Mr. Baldwin would please make a petition?

  • scarlett woodcox says:

    I pledge to never ever attend a circus of any kind with any kind of animals. I plan to pass this video on every public site I have access too.

  • Carlee says:

    The only way we can stop this needless suffering is to BOYCOTT all circuses. When the promoters start feeling it in their pocket, & realize they won’t sell tickets unless they stop using ALL animals in their circuses, then & only then will those poor animals be free!

  • Leslie Berenger says:

    Circuses Need To Be OUTLAWED FOREVER!!!

  • Angela Abfalterer says:

    Sadly enough that we have to use poor animals for our entertainment are we still torturing them when they aren’t acting as we want…. what a world is that?!?!!!?!?

  • Mariea Fear says:

    It is about time that use of animals for so called “entertainment” is abolished completely. They suffer enough when removed from their natural environment without the added stress of the cruelty inflicted by those who imprison them for profit.

  • susan says:

    Why are circuses are still legal? Sending love to this poor animal!

  • Maria Bradburn says:

    Absolutely heart-breaking to watch these beautiful animals abused in such a way. I have never and will never attend a circus involving animals and can’t understand why any ‘normal’ person would after seeing such scenes. Circus’ using animals should be banned

  • Robin Woody says:

    This hurts me and disgusts me. I love all animals and there is no reason behind this treatment. I was a big fan of the circus when I was little but I will never go to one with animals again, now that I know how they suffer.

  • Patti says:


  • Karen Christian says:

    Omigosh please please tell me what I can personally do to stop this. As long as this is going on, our society is ILL. Children who witness this can’t help but grow up mentally ILL. I’m realizing that doing nothing is as bad as actually buying tickets and supporting this outdated, devolved, barbaric circus industry. We are not cave people, who pick up a big stick and club sentient creatures over the head as a solution to anything and everything. We are more evolved than this.

  • sycamore says:

    …GET THE ANIMALS OUT of circuses…FINE HEAVILY !!!! we need to educate the children in schools..not to go to circuses..with animals…STOP THE MADNESS !!

  • Angelique ortiz says:

    This is completely cruel and unnecessary. There is no reason for those big intelligent gentle giants to be treated that way just for “entertainment”. Stop this torture. I will definitely never be buying ringling bros circus tickets or any other circus tickets ever and I will inform everyone I know and make sure they never do aswell.

  • Marcela Martinez says:

    stop this shit! animals needs rights and peace

  • beachcrabby says:

    This goes on at EVERY CIRCUS! ALL the animals are abused as long as they cage them!

  • Victoria Longley says:

    This is sickening! The poor elephant! I wish it was illegal to have animals in the circus. There are plans here in the UK that after 2015 all wild animals will be banned. But thats STILL not enough!!!!!!!!!!

  • Gail Daniels says:

    This has to stop. it is not right to abuse an animal and ALL animals.

  • lola says:

    c’est incroyable …on doit pas y aller et applaudir..:(

  • Debra says:

    Ughhh makes me so mad hate animal cruelty. Ban all circuses from having animals in them it’s sick n unnatural

  • Khando Yangzom says:

    These weird thing’s going around in the circus must b stop …. Plz plz do take an action on these animal abuser should definitely punished…

  • Dorayde Quinones says:

    Please do not go or advertise Circus with animals, this cruelty must stop.

  • Laura says:

    those people need to be treated the same way they treat those elephants. why do people have to be so cruel…wild animals need to be left wild, etc….

  • linda fabiano says:


  • Terry Carlo says:

    Please investigate these horrible allegations. Kelly Miller has USDA violations from the past.

  • cindy greene says:

    any circus that uses animals needs to be put out of business !!!!!!!! i was helping protest kelly miller circus when it was here in redford this video needs to be sent to the redford jaycees so they dont invite this horror back !!

  • Jo Ann says:

    I am tired of asking please stop this absolute torture of a herd animal…send them home…let them have a family…no more beatings…no more pain fear suffering mental breakdown no one to love them…caress them…stop it stop it stop it

  • Lady Holiday says:

    it’s just plain wrong.

  • Thea Spaanstra says:

    Circus is cruelty!!! #Boycot Kelly Miller Circus! Poor animals:-(

  • Tina says:

    Fricken ridiculous already!!! Please stop the circus