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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.

Commenting is closed.
  • Diana says:

    when will it stop? god…when

  • Timi Burgess says:

    Barbaric and so unnecessary! USDA can help if they really want to. If want to!!!! Also the USDA Animal welfare act needs an update as the last was in the 60’s. Somebody do something.

  • Diane Mousso says:

    This is terrible.I will not attend a circus. This abuse must be stopped. How do you people sleep at night?

  • Jenni Kerteston says:

    This breaks my heart. These animals should be with their families, not forced to perform! This has to stop!

  • Unresponsive Robo says:


  • Erica Glover says:

    Stop the Cruelty!

  • Andrea Cayton says:


  • Dr. K. says:

    Thoroughly inhumane.

  • neerav risbood says:

    Why do they do this?

  • Veronica says:

    who knew?! disgusting

  • Jessiejules says:

    Ban animal circuses already!!! Many countries have banned this cruelty, come on America wake the fuck up! Speak up for the voiceless and never stop fighting until these amazing , intelligent , emotional animals get to live a life of peace.

  • Katie says:

    Hi Everyone, This story has really hit me hard. Im from Australia and most of our circus act here are full of talented people, not animals. I refuse to go to any circus that has animals in it. I couldn’t help myself, so I sent an email to Kelly Miller Circus…wonder what reply i’ll get. There really is NO excuse for using pain as a training tool, we all know other methods (humane) work better. If they must have animals in their circus they need to change their ways…I wish I could just go and take all the animals and take care of them and show them what love and life means. xxxxx

  • Micki LeCronier says:

    This is barbaric and MUST stop!!!

  • Kristina says:

    Please stop this, I don’t have any words that can describe my feelings, my heart crying for the animals , please help them and bring this Kelly Miller to court so she get what she deserve, and more and also all the employees, Whats wrong with this people, give them the same treatment like they give the animals, PLEASE PLEASE HELP ATHIS POOR ANIMALS, WHATEVER HAD THEY DONE TO DESERVE THIS

  • Shannon Prowell says:

    Poor elephant. No animal deserves this and this person should be punished!

  • KillerTofu says:

    Elephants are gentle creatures and you do not have the right to abuse them. Please stop. Many people will boycott your circus until you stop abusing animals.

  • Theresa says:

    This is cruel!!!! Please stop this abuse!

  • terri says:

    For Gods sake stop these morons from abusing these beautiful creatures put them in jail beat them

  • Toni Pakay says:

    Investigate Kelly Miller circus animal cruelty accusations, and then remove that poor abused elephant.

  • janine Winters says:

    horrible! Please keep up the good work.

  • Maureen Poppoff says:

    Stop this horrible treatment of these precious animals.How would you like to be treated that way.

  • Bunni says:

    This is sickeningly wrong…NO animal deserves to be treated with such cruelty and disrespect! The idiots abusing these babies and the asshole people riding on her are the ones who deserve this treatment!

  • cachcoco says:

    hurting animals is disgraceful.

  • Melisa says:

    It make me cry!!! It is so sad to see that in the world is so bad people!

  • sherry says:

    need to put a end to all this cruelity to theses animals..It must stop and the abusers need to be jailed and fined for there actions and to never have or be around animals of anykind !

  • WENDY CAULEY says:


  • Tom says:

    Maybe the trainer needs to be beaten until he screams. A Circus is no life for an animal.

  • Colleen Baird says:

    This is sickening and horrific.. Why hasn’t the circus been shut down and the animals all taken to a sanctuary… People who harm elephants or any other creature should be taken out and beat themselves before they go to jail for animal cruelty. Our charges are not strong enough for animal abusers.. WE need tougher laws and judges, let the animals lovers in prison take care of the creeps that hurt animals..

  • Rosa says:

    Where is the petition to end the abuse?

  • Diadra Sherwin says:

    As circus owners who are responsible for their trainers and the handling of elephants and other circus animals, beating an animal in front of children is appalling. Beating an animal/elephant with a stick or sharp object is appalling. You’ve taken the fun out of going to the circus. People and animal friendly circuses are where it at, time to update yourselves. Thank you.

  • Alison Bennett says:

    Who can we contact to voice our concern and encourage a thorough investigation? Also, I know all animals in entertainment are suffering but is there any way to free this elephant? This is just heart breaking!

  • Kim says:

    Somehow I can’t picture the USDA doing anything. I hope I’m wrong but I just have this nagging feeling. Circuses w/animals should have been outlawed years ago.

  • Deborah B says:

    How can this be legal? Why the hypocrisy of having an ASPCA busting individuals for animal cruelty and giving licenses to others to systematically torture them? Where’s the pity, the humanity and empathy? I’m disgusted! And many people fancy this country as the beacon of civilization, yeah sure!

  • cindy cheek says:

    What can we do to have these poor babies released, and have a better life, what the fuck is wrong with these people, this is where our government should step in, please help them, makes my heart hurt for them, I would take their pain. PLEASE stop these people

  • kathleen clifford says:

    brave people, beating an innocent elephant so hard that she screamed in pain, your circus is disgrace and you all should be thrown in jail.

  • jules says:

    Should be shut down for their cruelty!

  • Liz Hicks says:

    This breaks my heart in so many different way.. the circus will never again receive my money for the entertainment that i so use to enjoy.. If i could rescue and take them all out of harms way i would. This is to much for these animals to have to live with.

  • rosie says:


  • Josephine says:

    Oooohhhh!!!!! Poor elephant.

  • Bonnie Harwell says:

    It is time to outlaw the use of animals in circuses or other forms of entertainment. Their handlers are generally low lifes who have lower IQs than the animals that they are supposed to be caring for.

  • Sylvana says:


  • stephanie kosak says:

    Barbaric treatment!

  • kristine Hughes says:

    why does anyone go to these awful circuses… do they keep getting away with torturing animals? You suck Kelly Miller Circus!!!!

  • Pat Houle says:

    I am appalled by this treatment of elephants. I will never and have never attended a circus for this reason. The animals are treated inhumanly…..The trainers and owners should be beaten and chained and see how they like it. They are such low lifes to do this to these animals in the first place. Please close the circus’s down before any other animal has to suffer. DO IT NOW!!!!

  • Rhonda K Bishop says:

    I will NEVER attend or promote circus entertainment EVER again! When We of the Human Species begin to understand that Animals are no different than us, especially when you realize that they feel pain, love and all the emotions and feelings that we do , then maybe we will treat them with the dignity and love that they deserve!

  • Eva Kraemer says:

    There is NOTHING that could warrant this-elephants are highly intelligent and social creatures. Please DO NOT ever go to see another circus.

  • Eva Kraemer says:

    There is nothing that could warrant this.

  • J McMullin says:

    Disgusting. Animal abuse on any level is a disgrace.

  • Eva Kraemer says:

    If we cannot be kind to animals, we cannot be kind to anything, including humans.

  • Rachel alger says:

    Please ban the circus