The ASPCA has called for a boycott of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus because four animals--billed as “living unicorns"--appear to be farm goats with surgically implanted horns.
“My worst fear has apparently been realized,” John Kulberg, president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said Thursday. “They have undertaken to implant within the skull of the goat a foreign device--a so-called unicorn horn.”
Kulberg said ASPCA investigators, including a veterinarian, became suspicious after they had been blocked from examining the animals at Madison Square Garden on two occasions on Wednesday.
A spokesman for the circus declined to say whether the “unicorns” are goats, but said they came to the circus “magically.”
“The animal arrived at our show in Houston in July, 1984,” he said. “We don’t know how or why, but they were just there.”
Kulberg said ASPCA investigators were finally allowed to examine the animals Thursday night and believe that the horns were surgically implanted.
He said it is theoretically possible for unicorns to exist, “as mutations with aberrant horns,” but said the animals he saw were goats.
Moreover, the circus blocked his attempts to speak with the circus veterinarian and to X-ray the animals, he said. Kulberg, calling for a citywide boycott of the circus, gave the circus an ultimatum.
“I have given them 24 hours in good faith to aid our investigation, but if they do not, we will investigate possible legal remedies,” Kulberg said.