Animal Abuse by Circus While in Carteret Prompts PETA Federal Complaint

Eyewitness Reports Whipping of Baby Zebra, Tigers Terrified of Handler

For Immediate Release:
July 1, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382

Carteret, 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 14 stop in Carteret—PETA has submitted a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for multiple and repeated apparent violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). During the circus’s Carteret visit, eyewitnesses reported seeing a handler whipping a baby zebra, causing the young animal apparently to limp in pain. Also, when a handler approached the tigers, they reportedly swiped at him, growled, and bared their teeth—apparent indications of fear as a result of abuse.

“Circuses 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 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 on ropes so tightly that they could barely move. The zebras were whipped throughout an entire performance—one with such force that the animal stumbled.
  • June 23, Township of Washington (Bergen County), N.J.: A trainer apparently whipped tigers on the face, and the zebras were whipped throughout the show.

The Kelly Miller Circus has been repeatedly cited for denying veterinary care to animals, public endangerment, and numerous other serious AWA violations.

A few 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.

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