Circus Cited for Endangering Public in Altoona

Carson & Barnes Hit for Unsafe Handling of Elephant

For Immediate Release:
May 8, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Altoona, Pa. – PETA has learned from a newly released report that while attending a Shrine circus in Altoona on April 14, a man positioned his young son behind an elephant for photos. The animals were provided by the Carson & Barnes Circus. Because there were no circus workers behind the elephant and no barriers to keep the public out, Carson & Barnes was cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for unsafe handling of animals—and not for the first time.

“Carson & Barnes has a long history of public endangerment and beating animals, so instead of a slap on the wrist, the circus should be hit with a large fine and have its license suspended,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “The best thing residents with children who love animals can do is to stay away from circuses that use animals.”

Carson & Barnes’ latest citation comes just weeks after the exhibitor allowed three elephants to escape from the area used for children’s rides at another Shrine circus. In late 2012, Carson & Barnes paid a penalty for 10 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including a prior elephant escape. The elephants suffer, too—as seen in this undercover video footage in which Carson & Barnes’ head trainer viciously beats elephants with sharp metal-tipped bullhooks and shocks them with electric prods.

Last summer, an eyewitness gave sworn testimony that while Carson & Barnes was performing with the Kelly Miller Circus in Point Place, Ohio, an elephant who was being used to give rides to children was struck four times so hard that she screamed out in pain. The new citation comes just a week after PETA filed a complaint with the USDA regarding a report that a Carson & Barnes handler beat an elephant at a Shrine circus in Pittsburgh.

Before she rampaged in Honolulu and was shot and killed, the elephant Tyke charged an arena entryway during a circus performance in Altoona. She ripped away part of the wall, causing $10,000 in damage. More than 3,000 children were in the audience, and one young girl was injured.

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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