‘Vote No on Cruel and Dangerous Circus,’ PETA Asks City Council

Acts With Kelly Miller Have Been Caught Beating Elephants, Allowing Dangerous Wild Animals to Escape

For Immediate Release:
November 20, 2014

Brittany Peet 202-483-7382

Aledo, Texas

Tonight, the Aledo City Council will vote on whether to contract with the notorious Kelly Miller Circus—and PETA, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment,” is calling on the council to vote no. In a letter sent to council members, PETA points out that Kelly Miller leases elephants from Carson & Barnes, which was caught on video attacking elephants with a bullhook—a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp metal hook on one end. Carson & Barnes has also endangered the public, including by allowing elephants to escape and run amok in the parking lot outside a circus performance earlier this year.

“If the City Council allows the Kelly Miller Circus to force elephants and tigers to perform in Aledo, it will be signing off on public endangerment and animal suffering,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is calling on officials to take a stand and refuse to allow Kelly Miller to set up shop in Aledo—or, at the very least, to require the circus to perform without the cruel animal acts.”

For more information, please visit PETA.org.


PETA’s letter to the Aledo City Council follows.


November 19, 2014


Kerby Smith, Council Member; Jean E. Bailey, Council Member; William McLeRoy, Council Member; Kimberly Hiebert, Council Member; Matt Casey, Council Member
Aledo City Council


Dear Mr. Smith, Ms. Bailey, Mr. McLeRoy, Ms. Hiebert, and Mr. Casey:

On behalf of PETA and its more than 3 million members and supporters, I am writing to ask that you consider the following information regarding the Kelly Miller Circus when deciding in tomorrow’s City Council meeting whether you will contract with this notorious circus. The city of Aledo bans the possession of wild animals, and that law was passed for good reasons. Wild animals belong in nature, and dangerous wild animals such as elephants and tigers pose a grave danger to members of the public. After reading the information below, I believe you will feel confident about keeping Kelly Miller out of Aledo or, at the very least, requiring that it perform without cruel and dangerous animal acts.

Kelly Miller uses exotic animals, including elephants and tigers. Even if Kelly Miller were to be allowed in Aledo, these animals could not accompany it because they cannot be legally possessed in Aledo, pursuant to Aledo ordinance Art. 2, Sec. 6-33. Other jurisdictions across the country are following Aledo’s lead by banning wild animals or the weapons that circuses such as Kelly Miller use to force these animals to perform. Elephants and tigers don’t perform unnatural tricks such as balancing on two legs and jumping through hoops because they want to—they do so because they’re afraid not to. Kelly Miller leases elephants from Carson & Barnes, which is notorious for animal abuse. An undercover video of a Carson & Barnes training session shows its head trainer, Tim Frisco, viciously attacking elephants with a bullhook—a sharp fireplace poker–like weapon—and shocking them with electric prods. The elephants emit agonizing screams while recoiling from the assaults. Frisco can be heard instructing his protégés to strike the elephants forcefully with bullhooks and to sink them into the elephants’ flesh and twist them until the animals scream in pain. Carson & Barnes has been repeatedly observed abusing elephants in other instances as well, including with Kelly Miller. Just last year, an eyewitness testified to observing a handler beat an elephant with Kelly Miller in Ohio until the animal screamed out.

Kelly Miller, Carson & Barnes, and Ryan Easley—who provides the tiger act for Kelly Miller—have also been cited for endangering the public. Carson & Barnes supplied the elephants who escaped from a Shrine circus earlier this year and has had additional elephant escapes, and tigers traveling with Kelly Miller escaped from their enclosures in 2011. These entities have also been cited for additional violations, including denying ailing animals veterinary care.

Accordingly, I urge the City of Aledo not to contract with Kelly Miller and for Aledo to join the compassionate and progressive cities across the country that are refusing to be accomplices to this abuse.

Very truly yours,

Brittany Peet, Esq.
Deputy Director | Captive Animal Law Enforcement
PETA Foundation

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