Activist group outraged by censorship of anti-circus PSA
San Diego, CA — The Animal Protection Institute (API), a California-based non-profit animal advocacy group, has recently learned that its anti-circus public service announcement (PSA) has been denied by Clear Channel radio stations in San Diego. API was seeking to place the ads to protest the arrival of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus to San Diego.
The PSA features retired police officer Blaine Doyle explaining the lifetime of misery circus elephants endure over the sounds of elephants being beaten by circus trainers. Mr. Doyle then explains that sometimes the elephants react to the years of abuse, an event which he has unfortunately experienced firsthand. Mr. Doyle was the police officer forced to shoot a rampaging circus elephant named Janet — it took him more than 50 heart-wrenching shots to kill her.
Clear Channel refused to run the PSA, which has been run in major media markets across the nation, unless API would allow Clear Channel “to revise the production to a way that would better fit our stations.”
“This PSA is an educational tool urging the public not to attend circuses that use animals. It highlights the lifetime of suffering these animals endure at the hands of the trainers for a few minutes of entertainment,” says Michelle Thew, Chief Executive Officer of API. “Circus elephant abuse includes constant chaining, painful strikes with bullhooks, and painful foot and joint ailments caused by constant confinement. Allowing Clear Channel to change the PSA to better suit their tastes defeats our message and is censorship. We have the right to expose the truth about this issue.”
The PSA is part of API’s national campaign against Ringling Bros., which includes television PSAs, billboards, and protests of Ringling’s treatment of elephants and horrible animal care record. API, along with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Animal Welfare Institute, and Fund for Animals, is also a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit to challenge Ringling’s mistreatment of elephants under the Endangered Species Act.
“It is impossible to chain elephants in train boxcars or arena parking lots for 11 months of the year and say you’re providing the best possible treatment for them,” says Thew. “The elephants used in Ringling’s California shows will perform an approximate total of less than 10 hours in our state. For this they will travel more than 3,200 miles over 11 weeks. It’s ridiculous to claim this meets any of the physical or psychological needs of these giants.”
API is also the sponsor of AB 3027, the Elephant Protection Act, which would have banned the use of bullhooks and chains on elephants in traveling shows in California.
The Animal Protection Institute (API) is a national nonprofit animal advocacy organization working to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation, and public education. API is a nationally recognized leader on elephant issues and the sponsor of LB 1000 in Nebraska, and S 2457 in Massachusetts, which would ban wild and exotic animals from circuses and traveling shows. For more information, visit www.api4animals.org.
Zibby Wilder, Animal Protection Institute, 916-447-3085 x205