Suspicious Elephant Death at Carson & Barnes Prompts PETA Complaint

PETA Wants Authorities to Investigate Whether Circus's Failure to Provide Long-Suffering Elephant With Led to Death

For Immediate Release:
May 11, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

Hugo, Okla. – This morning, PETA sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calling on the agency to investigate the recent death of Nina the elephant at Carson & Barnes Circus.

As PETA, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment,” notes in its letter, the USDA cited Carson & Barnes earlier this year for failing to supply adequate veterinary care to Nina, who lost 500 pounds over the course of just a few months—prompting PETA to question whether she was receiving adequate, or any, care for the conditions that Carson & Barnes claim led to her death, including failing kidneys and cardiac disease. PETA notes that these conditions would have required intensive monitoring and regular treatment, which are not noted in the USDA’s inspection report. Nina may have been suffering from another ailment as well, such as tuberculosis, and PETA is urging the USDA to ensure that Carson & Barnes conducts a necropsy, as required under the Animal Welfare Act.

“Carson & Barnes’ history of neglecting sick and injured elephants makes Nina’s death suspicious,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is asking the authorities to investigate this elephant’s death—and for caring families everywhere to stay far away from any circus that uses and abuses animals.”

Carson & Barnes has been repeatedly cited for failing to provide animals with adequate veterinary care. The circus has also been cited for using excessive force with a bullhook—a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one end—and paid a penalty to the USDA after undercover video footage showed that veteran trainer Tim Frisco violently attacked elephants with a bullhook. A Carson & Barnes worker was also caught beating Nina on video while touring with another circus 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