Feds: Roadside transfer of 4 elephants did not violate law

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Feds: Roadside transfer of 4 elephants did not violate law
This Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, photo provided by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol shows elephants being transferred to another trailer for transportation to Iowa after the floor of the trailer they were riding in started to give way on U.S. 69 near Eufaula, Okla. A veterinarian from the area helped move the pachyderms. (Oklahoma Highway Patrol via AP)

EUFAULA, Okla. (AP) — A federal regulator says an Oklahoma-based circus did not violate the Animal Welfare Act in the roadside transfer of four elephants into another vehicle after the floor of the trailer hauling them began to give way.

U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman R. Andre Bell said Friday that Carson & Barnes Circus followed procedure. The Animal Welfare Act protects against inhumane treatment and applies to commercially transported and exhibited animals.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the trailer floor dragged on the road Wednesday and sparked grass fires. The elephants disembarked near Eufaula, about 120 miles (190 kilometers) east of Oklahoma City, and then were transferred to another trailer and moved to a nearby veterinarian’s property. A third vehicle took them to Iowa.

Carson & Barnes said in a statement that the pachyderms were healthy.