After leaving a Kelly Miller Circus performance deeply disturbed, an eyewitness sent PETA video footage of a pony tied up and in constant discomfort.
Earlier this year, a visitor to the Kelly Miller Circus in Clinton, Indiana, spotted a pony tethered to a “living carousel” who appeared stressed and agitated. Known as Miley, she had excessively long hooves and can be seen in the video constantly moving around in discomfort, lifting her hooves, and pawing at the ground. Being restrained to the carousel and forced to give rides, she had no relief from the pain that the long hooves were causing.
PETA contacted the local authorities in multiple cities as the Kelly Miller Circus moved around to different locations. Finally, authorities in Independence, Kentucky, ordered the circus to stop using the pony and found that she had a very painful, advanced form of laminitis known as “founder,” which occurs when there’s chronic inflammation of the tissue between the bone and the hoof wall.
This chronic damage involves inflammation and decreased blood flow. When the inflammation is severe enough, it can cause the hoof and bone to separate, which is extremely painful. In the advanced form, when an animal has foundered, the bone begins to rotate or sink into the sole of the hoof, causing even more pain and compromised blood flow.
Unlike the elephants, zebras, dogs, and camels exploited by Kelly Miller, horses used in circuses aren’t protected by the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), which means that their care is not routinely monitored.
Horses are happiest when they have 24/7 access to pasture for quiet grazing and rolling, but in the circus, they’re constantly traveling and confined to small pens the size of a parking space. They’re also naturally frightened by loud noises, bright lights, and unfamiliar sights and smells—but that’s what they’re forced to experience day after day in the circus.
There’s a reason Kelly Miller Circus finds itself on our top eight worst circuses list.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has repeatedly cited Kelly Miller Circus for violating the AWA, including for failure to provide an elephant suffering from a painful, oozing ear wound with veterinary care.
Kelly Miller is also known for hiring notorious exhibitors to provide animal acts, including Carolyn Rice, who in 2015 was cited by the USDA after she was caught using an electric prod on zebras and camels during a performance. The circus also currently employs elephant handler Joey Frisco, who was caught on video hooking and yanking elephants during his time at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
What You Can Do
The Kelly Miller Circus is known for its ongoing exploitation of animals, and PETA urges families to steer clear when it’s in town.
Speak out for Miley and the numerous other animals enduring lives of misery at the Kelly Miller Circus. Together, we can end this traveling show of cruelty.