City Code Ignored as Animal Circus With History of Violations Heads to Pharr

Kelly Miller Circus Coming to Town Despite Prohibition on Captive Wild Animals

For Immediate Release:
February 23, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

Pharr, Texas – The city of Pharr has a law on the books prohibiting any wild animals from being kept or possessed in the city—and PETA is calling on city officials to make sure that law is applied to the Kelly Miller Circus, which is scheduled to start its performances in Pharr on Thursday, by ensuring that the circus does not force elephants, tigers, or other animals to perform in the city.

In a letter sent to city officials today, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—points out that animal exhibitors with Kelly Miller have a history of violating federal animal-protection law. Kelly Miller leases elephants from Carson & Barnes, which was also recently cited for failing to provide animals with adequate veterinary care and is notorious for beating elephants with bullhooks—weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp steel hook on one end. In 2013, an eyewitness testified to observing a handler beat an elephant traveling with Kelly Miller in Ohio while the animal screamed.

“Beating and confining elephants and tigers is indisputably cruel—and in Pharr, it’s against the law to bring such wild animals into town at all,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on city officials to enforce Pharr’s law and protect animals from bullhooks, whips, and chains.”

Kelly Miller, Carson & Barnes, and Ryan Easley—who supplies the tiger act for Kelly Miller—have also been cited for endangering the public. Carson & Barnes supplied the elephants who escaped from a Shrine circus last year and has had additional elephant escapes, and tigers traveling with Kelly Miller escaped from enclosures in 2011.

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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