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Should Circuses That Feature Animal Acts Be Banned [POLL]

Flikr user by Bob n Renee
Flikr user by Bob n Renee

Who doesn’t love to see the dancing elephants…or the tigers jumping about while a ringmaster leads them around the ring?

PETA doesn’t…that’s who.

And if they have their way, circuses all over the country will not be featuring any animal acts ever again.

Or for that matter, any attraction housing animals for the enjoyment of us mere humans.

According to this, Cole Bros. Circus is reacting to criticism of the treatment of animals in their shows at they head to Manville.

Are animals at a traveling East Coast circus being mistreated?

An official for Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars is asking potential spectators to come see for themselves.

The DeLand, Fla.-based circus — with its tigers, French poodles, elephants and human acrobats — is scheduled to stop Thursday and Friday at Gerber Field on Dukes Parkway East in Manville to raise money for the fire department.

Trailing the big-top operation are persistent accusations of mistreatment filed by animal rights activists at the People for Ethical Treatment for Animals.

The circus company in April settled with the U.S. Department of Agriculture over complaints filed by PETA in 2006 and 2007 alleging mistreatment of two Asian elephants, which were later taken into federal custody and moved to the San Diego Zoo.

The circus company and its owner, John W. Pugh, were ordered to pay a $15,000 civil penalty without admitting any wrongdoing.

A year ago, Pugh was sentenced to three years of probation with 100 hours of community service and $5,200 in fines after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in Beaumont, Texas, to violating the Endangered Species Act by selling the same two elephants, named Tina and Jewel.

Cole Bros. Vice President Renee Storey said Tuesday the settlement was “a business decision” and not a “finding of any violation.”

“We have very strict guidelines for responsible animal care. There are lots of eyes on the animal trainers. Out people are good people who do no tolerate animal abuse,” Storey said.
“The public has the opportunity to see exactly how the animals are cared for at our circus,” Storey said, adding that the public is invited free of charge to watch animals being unloaded and cared for on the morning of opening day.

The settlement followed a 2006 complaint by PETA citing an Animal Welfare Act violations by Cole Bros. and John “Gopher” Davenport, who had illegally purchased two elephants from the circus.

Cole Bros. has not owned its own animals since 2007. The circus now contracts with animal owners and trainers who travel with the circus, Storey said.

PETA alleged that Davenport used food deprivation to gain control of the elephants and that Tina was overworked because she was used for rides before and after shows.

PETA claimed in a 2007 complaint that Davenport was housing the elephants in an unlicensed facility in Texas and that the elephants may have been fed with contaminated hay collected from roadsides, resulting in “alarming amount of weight loss.”

“We hope that the USDA’s action against Cole Bros. puts all animal circuses on notice that, sooner or later, they must pay for animal abuse,” PETA Foundation Director Delcianna Winders said in a statement.

“We are appealing to parents and grandparents not to take children to animal circuses because every ticket purchased supports suffering.”

PETA, which maintains a “factsheet” on Cole Bros. and other circus operations, advocates for “animal-free circuses” and community bans on circuses.
“PETA is an animal rights organization and they disagree with any use of animals for any reason,” Storey responded.

So then I ask you (with tongue firmly planted in cheek), what enjoyment do you get out of seeing the once majestic elephant that roamed the African wilderness be reduced to hoisting a lovely young lady on her back and cavorting around a circus ring?

Hmmm?

If the elephant isn’t being mistreated in any way, I say, “why not!”

Do we not ride horses…do we not use other animals for varying purposes…food, clothing, etc?

Something tells me we humans should just pack our bags and move to the planet Zorch!


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