Feds: Circus Posed Possible Danger to the Public in Altoona

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

Altoona, Pa.

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 in which Carson & Barnes elephant handlers traveling with the Royal Hanneford Circus allowed members of the public to come into dangerous contact with elephants in Altoona, Pennsylvania. The Altoona inspection came after PETA alerted the USDA to eyewitness reports stating that handlers struck the elephants with a bullhook—a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one end—in Pittsburgh.

“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 before in which three elephants allegedly ran amok for 45 minutes in St. Charles, Missouri, 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 been cited with more than 100 violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including for allowing Katie the pygmy hippo and Nina the elephant to languish for months, losing weight at an alarming rate, until Katie died. Nina died just months after the circus was cited for failing to provide her with adequate veterinary care. Carson & Barnes was issued an official warning in 2014 for denying animals proper 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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