Feds Cite Cameron County–Bound Carson & Barnes Circus for Vet-Care Violations

PETA Urges Families to Steer Clear of Circus Cited for Denying Adequate Veterinary Care to Now-Dead Hippo, Underweight Elephant, and Others

For Immediate Release:
February 6, 2015

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Cameron County, TexasCarson & Barnes Circus is scheduled to drag its animal acts to Harlingen and San Benito this month, and once again, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited the notorious animal abuser for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. PETA has obtained a USDA inspection report that reveals that Katie the hippo—who was found dead in November—was losing weight at a concerning rate as of May 2014, although no records show that she was ever given her veterinary-prescribed treatment. The elephant Nina—whom a Carson & Barnes worker was caught beating on video while touring with another circus in 2011—has lost 500 pounds in the last several months alone, also earning Carson & Barnes its citation for denying adequate veterinary care. A llama, Bandit, was also noted to have severely overgrown hooves—a condition that can be painful and can lead to arthritis and other health problems—which circus workers had not noticed or addressed.

“Carson & Barnes’ neglect of sick and injured animals is unacceptable, cruel, and illegal,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is asking families everywhere to stay away from circuses that use animals.”

Carson & Barnes’ past violations include using excessive force with a bullhook—a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one end—on an elephant named Viola; repeatedly failing to supervise elephants forced to give rides, including when a handler answered his cell phone and walked away from an elephant while she had six children and an adult on her back; and allowing elephants to be in such close proximity to the public that one man grabbed an elephant’s trunk, placing the safety of both at risk. Carson & Barnes also paid a penalty to the USDA after undercover video footage showed veteran trainer Tim Frisco as he violently attacked elephants with a bullhook.

PETA, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment,” asks all caring people to avoid Carson & Barnes and all other circuses that subject animals to the abuse and isolation involved with performing.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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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