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For Immediate Release: 03/08/05

Circus Season Sparks Controversy in New Jersey Prompted by the 135th Edition of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in East Rutherford

East Rutherford, NJ — As the Ringling Bros. Circus rolls into town a national group is highlighting the real life behind the scenes for animals in the circus. Continuing its national campaign, the Animal Protection Institute is reminding residents in East Rutherford about 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. Forced to perform unnatural tricks and chained or caged for most of their lives, the care and treatment of animals in circuses is shameful.

Fearing another animal tragedy as the circus season continues, the Animal Protection Institute is also alerting the public in East Rutherford to Ringling’s recent record of animal care. Several animals have died while traveling with Ringling in just the last 6 months 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 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture citing Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for violating the Animal Welfare Act.

As this controversial “family entertainment” opens its doors to the East Rutherford public on March 9, 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 East Rutherford residents hear of the truth for the animals behind the big top, they will want to spend their money elsewhere, on real family entertainment that does not exploit animals.”

The Animal Protection Institute is a national non-profit animal advocacy organization with tens of thousands of members and supporters working to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation, and public education.

For more information on the life of animals in the circus please visit www.MoreBeautifulWild.com.

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