USDA Acknowledges Betty's Gait Issue
July 22, 2023
Through a Freedom of Information Act request, CWI has obtained new information about Betty from 2021 and early 2022.
There are several items of note in the report. First, according to a USDA veterinarian who observed Betty in August 2021, Betty was "not displaying a full range of motion when she walked." But because Betty was still walking around and not leaning on anything, she was deemed fit to travel and perform.
In February 2022, once again Betty was observed by the USDA, and it was noted that she does not flex her "left front ankle as much as her right front ankle."They also noted that, during the performance, she "only lifted her front legs part of the way in the air" when provoked to sit on a stool.
The USDA--after noticing these abnormalities--did nothing. They claim that because she was still willing to walk and move, and because the circus-paid attending veterinarian deemed her fit, NO ACTION WAS TAKEN.
Finally, you may recall CWI reported that Betty was performing with a weeping eye in El Paso, Texas in early November 2021. We immediately filed a complaint with the USDA. Unfortunately, the USDA NEVER FOLLOWED UP at that time. The information we received states that the USDA veterinarian did not ask the circus veterinarian about this incident until March 2022.
The circus vet admits that Betty was knowingly SENT OUT ON THE ROAD with an eye issue that caused continuous weeping. Again, the USDA took no further action.
We know you are as horrified by this update as we are. One positive thing we have learned is that the USDA is taking note of our complaints and doing some site visits, though they are not always timely. This means we MUST keep up the work for Betty with our protests, educational outreach, and investigations until she is retired to permanent sanctuary.
Until July 30, you can support our campaign for Betty by purchasing a limited edition Free Betty tshirt design from FLOAT. They are donating $8 of every sale to support our campaign! They have many styles and colors to choose from.
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