Circus Horse's Death Not Due to Abuse

The Grand Rapids Press reported recently that the Sept. 28 death of a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus horse will not be investigated by local animal control officers.

The 14-year-old palomino gelding collapsed and died shortly after being charged by a stallion as the horses were unloaded from a train in Grand Rapids.

According to Steve Halstead, DVM, MS, state veterinarian for Michigan, a necropsy showed that the collision ruptured the gelding's vena cava, the main artery that returns blood from the body to the heart. The necropsy revealed no other signs that could have caused the horse's death. A release from Ringling Bros. reported that the vena cava suffered a 4-cm. tear and that the horse was found "to otherwise be in strong cardiac and physical health."

An animal rights group had suggested that the circus doesn't care properly for its animals, citing this horse's death as one example.

"There was no evidence of abuse or mismanagement of the horse," Halstead told the Press.

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