Feds Bring Formal Complaint Against Carson & Barnes for St. Charles Animal Escape

Carson & Barnes Also Cited for Denying Adequate Veterinary Care to Now-Dead Hippo and Elephant; PETA Urges Families to Steer Clear

For Immediate Release:
May 21, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

St. Charles, Mo. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has filed a formal complaint against the notorious animal abuser Carson & Barnes Circus in response to an incident last year during which three elephants allegedly ran amok for 45 minutes at the St. Louis Moolah Shrine Circus in St. Charles after becoming “stressed” by circus noise—performers reportedly asked the audience members to stomp on the metal bleachers and create other loud noises—placing the public in danger and causing the animals to sustain abrasions and lacerations.

“Carson & Barnes has as much disregard for the public’s safety as it has for the well-being of the animals it beats into performing,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is asking families everywhere to stay away from all circuses that use animals.”

The USDA’s complaint also includes an incident that occurred just weeks later in which handlers with the circus allowed the public to come into dangerous contact with elephants in Altoona, Pennsylvania. The complaint is the latest in a long history of animal abuse at Carson & Barnes, which has been cited with more than 100 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including for allowing a hippo and an elephant to languish for months, losing weight at an alarming rate—both animals ultimately died. Carson & Barnes was issued an official warning in 2014 for denying animals adequate veterinary care, and in 2012, it was ordered to pay a $3,714 penalty for 10 animal-welfare violations, including endangering the public and elephants by failing to handle the elephants safely, denying elephants adequate shelter, and failing to keep facilities in good repair.

For more information, please visit PETA’s blog.

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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