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For Immediate Release: 01/31/05

Circus Season Sparks Controversy in South Carolina Prompted by the 135th Edition of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Greenville

Greenville, SC — As the Ringling Bros. circus rolls into South Carolina, a national group is highlighting the real life behind the scenes for animals in the circus. Continuing its national campaign, the Animal Protection Institute wants local residents to be aware of the treatment of animals behind the big top, a life full of frightening, unnatural and painful experiences.

Ringling Bros.’ new edition is themed “Escape from the Everyday.” Unfortunately, there is no escape for the animals traveling with the show. The care and treatment of animals in circuses — forced to perform unnatural tricks and chained or caged for most of their lives — is shameful.

Fearing another animal tragedy as the circus season continues, the Animal Protection Institute also wants local residents to be aware of Ringling’s recent record of animal care. Several animals have died while traveling with Ringling in just the last year and the company remains subject to an ongoing federal investigation after a young lion died in a boxcar in July 2004. This tragedy followed a series of recent deaths of animals including a horse and two elephants, which led the U.S. Department of Agriculture to cite Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for violating the Animal Welfare Act.

As this controversial “family entertainment” opens its doors in Greenville on February 2, the Animal Protection Institute is urging residents to think twice before buying a ticket to support such an abusive industry.

“The circus is no place for animals,” says Michelle Thew, Chief Executive of the Animal Protection Institute. “Traveling for thousands of hours over long distances, forced to perform frightening and unnatural tricks, the lives of circus animals are a tragedy.” Thew continues, “We are hopeful that when South Carolina residents hear of the truth for the animals behind the big top they will want to spend their money elsewhere, on real family entertainment.”

The Animal Protection Institute is a national non-profit animal advocacy organization with tens of thousands of members and supporters nationwide working to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation, and public education. For more information about animals in the circus and API please visit: www.MoreBeautifulWild.com.

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