Report of Animal Abuse at Circus While in Bergen County Prompts PETA Federal Complaint
Eyewitness Reports Apparent Whipping of Tigers on the Face
For Immediate Release:
June 27, 2013
David Perle 202-483-7382
Township of Washington (Bergen County), N.J. — Based on sworn affidavits from numerous people who report witnessing handlers with the notoriously cruel Kelly Miller Circus whipping and striking animals during its recent tour of eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey—including a June 23 stop in Washington Township (Bergen County)—PETA has submitted a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for multiple apparent violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). During the circus’s Washington Township visit, an eyewitness reports seeing handlers repeatedly whipping zebras and apparently whipping several tigers on the face. A camel was tethered to a lamppost on a rope so tightly that the animal could not stand comfortably and could barely move, according to the eyewitness testimony.
“Circus handlers use violence, fear, and pain to keep animals under control—and to punish them for not obeying,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “PETA urges families to stay far away from Kelly Miller Circus and all other circuses that use animals.”
The following is just a small sample of the abuse reported by the eyewitnesses at other venues on the tour:
- June 14, Carteret, N.J.: A handler whipped a baby zebra twice on the back of the leg, causing the animal to limp in pain.
- June 17, Lakehurst, N.J.: A camel and several zebras were whipped, and a handler forcefully struck a small dog on the face.
- June 19, Old Bridge, N.J.: The zebras were repeatedly whipped, and a man forcefully struck a tiger on the face.
- June 21, Weatherly, Pa.: A camel and several zebras were tethered so tightly that they could barely take a step. The zebras were whipped throughout an entire performance—one with such force that the animal stumbled.
Kelly Miller Circus has been repeatedly cited for denying adequate veterinary care to animals, public endangerment, and numerous other serious AWA violations.
PETA’s complaint to the USDA is available upon request. Some of the incidents described above were caught on tape, and the videos are also available upon request. For more information, please see PETA’s factsheet.