Today (27th July), an item was posted on US web-site dailynews.com (for Los Angeles) titled ‘Circus opens in SoCal tonight amid PETA protest’.
‘… ANAHEIM – The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus will begin an eight-day run Friday night at Honda Center, where People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PeTA] plans to protest the handling of elephants at the event.
Buoyed by a ruling Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court that prohibited elephant handlers at the Los Angeles Zoo from using bull hooks and electrical shock to control the animals, PETA will protest Ringling Bros.’ continued use of the tools.
“It’s used to strike elephants, to jab them, to cause pain to get them to behave as the handler wants them to,” said Delcianna Winders of PETA.
Stephen Payne, vice president of corporate communications for Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, said the bull hooks are “long accepted elephant husbandry tools used by highly trained professionals. Their use is accepted by the USDA and we’re regularly inspected by the USDA,” Payne said, referring to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which he said inspected the circus when it was in Los Angeles earlier this month.
Winders argued that state law prevents the use of the bull hooks, which was a central issue in the lawsuit against the Los Angeles Zoo.
“State law prohibits elephant abuse and the bull hook constitutes elephant abuse,” Winders said.
Payne criticized animal rights activists for going too far in some of their protests. He said when the circus was in Los Angeles he saw protesters call parents “child abusers” for bringing their children to the show.
“You can have an opinion, but when you make young children cry and upset their parents with extremely outrageous claims” it’s going too far, Payne said.
Winders agreed that sort of protest is over the line.
“PETA never condones actions like that,” Winders said. “We organize peaceful protests and instruct everyone participating to be respectful to other people.” Unfortunately, some more strident protesters not affiliated with PETA join in the demonstrations, she said.
The 15 circus performances at Staples Center drew more than 100,000 people and the 18 shows at Honda Center are expected to attract 140,000, Payne said.
The show is titled “Dragons,” celebrating the Chinese year of the dragon. It combines mystic dragon lore with circus feats of bravery and athleticism and a 22-foot tall, 4,000-pound dragon, with nearly 2,000 scales, all hand-sewn.
The acts include:
… — the Riders of the Wind, who ride into the ring aboard thoroughbred horses and perform intricate maneuvers on horseback, including a double-man pyramid that builds to a five-man high pyramid while the horses are galloping at full speed …
– what is billed as the only big cat act in the United States featuring both tigers and lions together …
– animals including the largest herd of Asian elephants of any North American circus; horses, ponies, mini-donkeys and goats; rescue dogs and domestic cats scaling a kitty low wire, balancing on top of balls, jumping through hula hoops and walking across parallel bars only using their front paws …’
Read the item in full and add your comment online at www.dailynews.com/breakingnews/ci_21172761/circus-opens-socal-tonight-amid-peta-protest
Read about the suffering of animals in circuses at www.captiveanimals.org/our-work/circuses