Animal Abuse by Circus While in Weatherly Prompts PETA Federal Complaint

Eyewitness Reports Whipping of Zebras, Baby Goat Smacked on the Face

For Immediate Release:
July 1, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382

Weatherly, Pa. — 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—including a June 21 stop in Weatherly—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 Weatherly visit, an eyewitness reported seeing a handler strike a baby goat on the face, swat llamas with a stick in order to force them to jump over a barrier, and forcefully whip zebras, causing one animal to stumble from the lash. A camel and other animals were tethered on ropes so tightly that they could barely move.

“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 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 23, Township of Washington (Bergen County), N.J.: A trainer apparently whipped tigers on the face, and the zebras were whipped throughout the show.

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.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind