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
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
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
Director of Public Relations
Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute
Letter to the Editor
HeraldNet (Everett, WA)
“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
“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
The Beacon News (Aurora, IL)
Breeding and keeping lions in captivity may be fun for zoo visitors, but it’s not real conservation. Real conservation is aimed at addressing the persecution and threats facing lions in the wild. Lion habitat and prey are declining, hundreds of lions are killed each year for sport by western hunters and still others are killed for meat and body parts. In the last three decades alone, the continent-wide population of lions across Africa has declined by an alarming 70 percent. It is up to us to make sure that lions are protected in the wild as our top priority. How sad it would be to someday realize that lions are gone from Kenya, but are alive and caged in South Carolina.
Challenge is to make lions' lives worth living
Senior Vice President for Born Free USA united with API
Letter to the Editor
The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, SC)
"A Bush administration proposal that would eliminate the input of independent government scientists in some endangered species reviews would be tossed out if Democrat Barack Obama wins the White House, his campaign says. ... [A] proposal by the Interior and Commerce departments ... would change how the 1973 law is implemented, allowing federal agencies to decide for themselves — without seeking the opinions of government wildlife experts — whether dams, highways and other projects have the potential to harm endangered species and habitats."
The protection of endangered species is of great concern to Born Free USA united with API, and we support attitudes that shield them from threats to their survival.
Obama opposes Bush endangered species proposal
I was concerned to read that the city of Vacaville opted to use body-crushing Conibear traps to address conflicts with beavers. These traps are notoriously indiscriminate and pose a serious hazard to nontarget species, including cats and dogs. In fact, research has shown that for every target animal captured at least two other nontarget animals are caught, maimed, or killed.
Great engineers can co-exist
Senior Program Associate for Born Free USA united with API
Letter to the Editor
The Reporter (Vacaville, CA)