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Another Elephant Dies at the Zoo

Published 09/29/08

Misha the elephant died Sept. 9 in a cinder-block building at Utah's Hogle Zoo, her most recent home. No one is certain yet of what caused her sudden downturn, at what could be described as "middle age" for an elephant. But one of Misha's former trainers has a strong suspicion: "She lost her will."

Born Free USA united with API knows that captivity is no place for an elephant.

Misha endured a tragic life - and she wasn't unique
Matthew D. LaPlante
The Reporter (Vacaville, CA)

Covering up a Tiger Attack

Published 09/23/08

The owners of an exotic animal park and one of its board members have been charged with evidence tampering for allegedly trying to cover up a tiger attack on a volunteer. The owners of Wesa-A-Geh-Ya in Warren County, Kenneth and Sandra Smith, and the board member, Roy Elder, initially led the sheriff’s department to believe that a pit bull attacked the volunteer, Jacob Barr, who had part of his leg amputated after the Aug. 3 mauling. Mr. Elder and Ms. Smith are accused of lying to investigators by saying a dog attacked Mr. Barr. Mr. Smith, who shot and killed the tiger, is accused of participating in a cover-up by moving its body to a different location. Ms. Smith said she had misled investigators because she feared that the park’s animals would be euthanized if the authorities learned the truth.

Missouri: Animal Park Owners Charged
Associated Press
The New York Times

Giving up “pet” reptiles without facing a penalty

Published 09/19/08

Residents who own reptiles that are not native to Florida can now give up their pets without facing a penalty whenever they want — instead of releasing them into the Everglades. The new rules expand a series of pet amnesty events so pet owners can surrender their unwanted pets to a wildlife sanctuary instead of illegally releasing them.

Born Free USA united with API believes that wildlife belongs in the wild, not in private possession. Releasing animals to sanctuaries is a much better alternative to keeping exotic “pets” in substandard housing, with their dietary and psychological needs poorly met, if at all.

New rules set for owners of exotic pets in Florida
The Associated Press
Miami Herald

Not everyone is thrilled that the circus is in town

Published 09/11/08

Not everyone is thrilled that the circus is in town. "If people knew what went on behind the big top, they should be outraged about the cruelty that goes on, and they should not patronize any circus that uses animals, especially Ringling Brothers," said Nicole Paquette, senior vice president of Born Free USA. Born Free USA is one of four plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against the circus contending that the treatment of the elephants is cruel and should be considered a violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Circus sued over treatment of elephants
Blair Anthony Robertson
Sacramento Bee

Wild animals should not be a part of the circus

Published 09/08/08

Wild animals should not be a part of the circus, Lisa Weisberg, legal consultant for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said. The association, along with The Fund for Animals and the Animal Protection Institute, will battle Ringling Bros. in federal court in October, citing violations of the Endangered Species Act. “They don’t want the public to know what really goes on behind the scenes,” Weisberg said, adding the plaintiffs have “incredible evidence.” The goal is to start enforcing existing laws and hopefully the trial will educate the public enough to not patronize these events.

Why not to go to the circus
Tara Bozick
Victoria Advocate

Article on Ringling fails to mention our groundbreaking federal lawsuit

Published 09/02/08

Your Thursday story on PETA's recent circus protest and the debate over the treatment of endangered Asian elephants in the circus ... failed to mention the groundbreaking federal lawsuit against the circus giant for its mistreatment of elephants, which will be heard in a Washington D.C., courtroom beginning Oct. 20. This lawsuit is based on actual evidence against Ringling Bros., not just unsubstantiated claims by animal advocacy groups.

Suit against circus to be heard in October
Zibby Wilder
Director of Public Relations
Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute
Letter to the Editor
HeraldNet (Everett, WA)

The show may soon be over

Published 08/25/08

“Ringling Bros. has been battling with animal welfare advocates for a generation or more, and a landmark federal lawsuit headed to trial in October could finally answer the question of whether rough, regular treatment of endangered Asian elephants by circus handlers constitutes illegal animal abuse. At stake is the future of performing animals in circuses, particularly this 138-year-old global institution. Circus officials say that if the court prohibits the use of tools like leg chains and the ankus (an elephant training tool that activists call a bull hook and handlers call a guide), they’ll stop touring with elephants — a feature that they admit is their biggest draw.”

The trial — API is one of the plaintiffs — is set to begin on October 20.

Dirty secrets under the big top
Steven T. Jones
San Francisco Bay Guardian

7-year-old's shoe is caught in Conibear trap

Published 08/22/08

“When Mark Wells and his family get together at his dad’s home ... the adults like to relax on the patio while the kids go running off to the nearby pond to hunt for frogs. But last Sunday ... Wells was flabbergasted to see his niece carrying a metal muskrat trap with her blue Croc shoe lodged firmly inside. The 7-year-old told the family she had stepped on the trap on the pond’s shore. ‘It took three adults to get the shoe out of the trap,’ Wells said. ‘I don’t know how it didn’t hurt her.’”

This is just the latest in a long list of incidents where people and animals were caught in traps meant for other species. See the list of non-target incidents compiled by Born Free USA united with API.

Muskrat traps posing danger in Sugar Grove
Elisabeth Kilpatrick
The Beacon News (Aurora, IL)

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