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For Immediate Release: 06/21/05

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Attracts Controversial National Circus Ad Campaign In Las Vegas

Opening night protest:
Thursday, June 23, 2005 at 5:30 pm, Orleans Arena

Las Vegas, NV — Continuing its national advertising campaign, “A Lifetime of Misery,” the Animal Protection Institute (API) will display its controversial billboard in Las Vegas, Thursday through Saturday, reminding residents and visitors about the treatment of animals behind the big top.

As Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus brings its 135th edition to Las Vegas, the Animal Protection Institute will be urging people to think again before buying a ticket to support such an abusive industry. Turned down by Clear Channel Outdoor, but determined to spread its message, API has secured a special mobile billboard to drive around the Las Vegas area. The controversial billboard depicts Lota, a former circus elephant, in chains and asks the question: “Would you chain your dog for most of her life? Why pay a circus to do it to elephants?”

“If the illustration of life for these animals is too graphic to be shown on a billboard, the reality is too graphic for them to endure in the circus,” says Michelle Thew, Chief Executive Officer of Animal Protection Institute. Thew continues, “Protestors will be outside the arena with a clear message — the catalogue of misery that circus animals endure must come to an end. This is not family entertainment.”

Representatives from the Animal Protection Institute will join concerned citizens to peacefully protest the show and to remind those visiting the Orleans Arena that animals in circuses face a lifetime of misery. Protesters will gather at the corner of Arville Street and W. Tompkins Avenue to mark the arrival of the 22-foot mobile billboard and will be highlighting that animals in circuses face appalling treatment and pose threats to public health and safety.

“The circus is no place for animals,” says Thew. “Common sense dictates that elephants do not eagerly stand on their heads and that tigers do not naturally jump through hoops. They must be rendered submissive, broken and trained with standard industry methods that include the use of bullhooks, electric prods, and chains.” Thew continues, “We are urging the public to think twice before buying a ticket to support such abuse and to turn instead to the real family entertainment all around us. Why, in Las Vegas of all places, would anyone need to go to see an outdated animal circus for their entertainment?”

The organization is also alerting the public to the fact that circus animals can spend as many as 11 months of each year on the road, and that several animals have died while traveling with Ringling Bros. The company remains subject to at least two ongoing federal investigations following the July 2004 death of a two-year-old lion while traveling by train through the Mojave Desert and the August 2004 euthanasia of an eight-month-old elephant that fell from a 19-inch-tall platform.

API’s advertising campaign also includes a series of 30-second television spots and 60-second radio spots that will be running in the area the week of June 19th. To view the billboard and television and radio public service announcements, download campaign materials, and find out more about life for animals in the circus, please visit www.MoreBeautifulWild.com.

Animal Protection Institute is a national non-profit animal advocacy organization working to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation, and public education.

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