VIDEO: Zebra Used in Circus Shot Dead After Breaking Free

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Update: Less than a week after two zebras, Pumba and Safari, escaped from an enclosure at Circus Barlay in northeast Germany, staff there are already clamoring to replace Pumba, who was shot and killed by animal “rescue” services. The circus plans to borrow a zebra initially and then purchase a permanent replacement.

One dead zebra is one too many.

The obvious solution here isn’t to replace Pumba and continue touring with zebras. Circus Barlay should instead retire Safari to a suitable facility where he or she can have companionship and live in a safe, appropriate environment.

Originally published on October 8, 2019:

Another day, another tragic and unnecessary reminder that animals don’t belong in circuses—this time in Germany. On October 2, two zebras broke free from Circus Barlay, a traveling circus using animals that had just pitched its tent in Tessin, a town in northeast Germany. One of the two zebras, Pumba, was shot and killed by German animal “rescue” services.

The second zebra, Safari, didn’t fare much better: The animal was seized and returned to his or her captors.

Local authorities said that Pumba had disrupted traffic. Although two cars did collide after swerving to avoid him, no one was injured.

After failed attempts by circus staff to contain him, authorities fired the fatal shot. According to one witness, Pumba’s head was down and he looked exhausted just before he was shot dead.

These zebras shouldn’t have been held captive and dragged around by Circus Barlay to begin with.

Denied everything that’s natural and important to them, they belonged in the wild, where they wouldn’t be carted from place to place, forced to perform under bright lights to blaring music, and made to live in trailers and parking lots.

Pumba’s blood is on Circus Barlay’s hands.

Nothing could be further from the quiet, vast plains and woodlands where zebras belong than a traveling circus. Colorful pageantry disguises the fact that animals used in shows are captives who are forced—under threat of punishment—to perform confusing, uncomfortable, repetitious, and often painful acts. Because circuses such as Circus Barlay travel from city to city, animals’ access to necessities such as food, water, and veterinary care is often inadequate.

The escape of Pumba and his companion is just more evidence that wild animals want to be free. Of course these two made a run for it—zebras are sensitive, skittish animals whose first instinct is to run from anything that’s frightening or unfamiliar.

Where there’s a circus that uses animals, there’s danger.

By continuing to exploit animals, companies such as Circus Barlay are creating hazardous situations for animals and the public. Runaway zebras have been gunned down, been hit by cars, fallen off cliffs, and sustained deadly injuries—and that’s only zebras. Tigers have also escaped and been shot dead.

Children were injured when a camel tried to flee, animals have suffered seizures mid-performance, and who could forget when Kenya the elephant stopped traffic after breaking out of Circus Krone?

Let’s End Animal Circus Acts TODAY

PETA Germany will continue to raise awareness of the cruelty and violence that goes on in circuses behind the scenes. Here in the U.S., we can help, too: Speak up for all animals being used as entertainment in circus shows.

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