Eyewitnesses Report Whipping of Zebras, Tigers at Berkley-Bound Circus

PETA Files Formal Complaint Calling On USDA to Investigate Reported Violations of Animal Welfare Act

For Immediate Release:
June 27, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382

Berkley, Mass. — Based on sworn affidavits from numerous people who report witnessing shocking animal abuse by handlers with the notoriously cruel Kelly Miller Circus—which is scheduled to perform in Berkley today—PETA has submitted a complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for multiple and repeated apparent violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). According to the affidavits, handlers with Kelly Miller Circus were witnessed whipping zebras, including a baby zebra; whipping several tigers; forcefully striking a dog, tiger, and a baby goat on the face; and tethering animals so tightly that they could barely take a step. The reported abuse took place during the circus’s recent tour of New Jersey and one town in eastern Pennsylvania. Kelly Miller Circus has been repeatedly cited for denying veterinary care to animals, public endangerment, and numerous other serious AWA violations.

“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:

  • 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 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.

PETA’s complaint to the USDA is available upon request. 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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