Saddened By The Circus - And Replies

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I am sad to see that the circus is again in town. I feel that the animals used in circus acts were never intended by their creator to be taken from their wild habitats, cruelly trained to perform unnatural tricks for the amusement of people, and shipped around from city to city.

Please consider these points:

Training methods are often abusive, cruel and stressful. Circus trainers use whips, tight collars, electric prods, bullhooks, and other tools to break animals’ spirits and teach submission. In fact, The ASPCA, the Fund for Animals and the Animal Welfare Institute brought a lawsuit against Ringling Bros. under the Endangered Species Act for its mistreatment of elephants.

Wild animals can attack trainers and audiences, rebelling against mistreatment and cruel training methods.

Living conditions of circus animals are inhumane. The animals live in cramped spaces -- tigers and lions live and travel in cages measuring just four by six by five feet. Elephants are chained by their legs during training, transport, and between shows.

The circus is not educational. It portrays wild animals as approachable and playful – teaching nothing about the animals, their natural habitats, lifestyles or behaviors.

Many circuses entertain audiences without using animals. And it's these circuses that we should welcome to our town. Using animals as a form of entertainment, especially when it involves such cruelty, is barbaric.

Kelly Paulk

* * *

Animal rights activists have been protesting exotic animals in entertainment and rodeos for a while now, so you can be assured other domestic animals like dog and cat shows will be their next target. It is nice to see when the governments and public are looking at the facts that these animals are treated humanely and according to animal welfare regulations, and not giving in and listen to special interests groups' propaganda whose real goal is no animals in captivity.

Let the common sense, facts and public interest in these shows override the lies and misconceptions spread by people with hidden agendas, who rather see these magnificent animals extinct in the wild than have them survive in captivity which might be their only chance for survival in the years to come.

As an owner and trainer of exotic cats I know first hand these animals are treated with respect, love and affection. We love our animals and they love us back, they are our babies, we often think of them as our friends that just happen to be tigers, lions or leopards.

Zuzana Kukol
Las Vegas, NV

* * *

There is a terrible misconception these days about animals and circuses. And, because people are taken in by this misconception, it could be that circuses will become a thing of the past.

Let's briefly explore this misconception, that circuses are cruel to animals. Like everything else, circuses have evolved over the years, and things have become much more humane. But even in the early half of this century, circus trainers realized they got much more from their animals-- and the animals got much more from their trainers-- if they were treated with care and respect. Today, top trainers treat their animals practically as family members.

These misconceptions are spread by animal rights organizations (such as the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) as part of their plan to eliminate all animals from the human environment.

Circuses are showy, high profile, and are relatively few in number-- making them easy pickings for false charges of cruelty. Time and time again, Ringling Bros. has beaten off PETA, who are relentless in their efforts to shut down all circuses using animals by any means they can get away with.

I really enjoy watching animals perform in the circus, and I also enjoy watching the rapport they have with their trainer. In fact, retired animals often enjoy their routine so much that they will go through it a couple time a week for good measure. As far as cats living in small cages, they actually enjoy small spaces. Look where your housecats like to hide. They enjoy small spaces for the same reasons big cats do-- they feel secure. A retired circus lion I knew hated a large zoo enclosure, and preferred his small one.

So, please do not listen to the lies of those who would have you to believe circuses are 'pits of cruelty.' Go see for yourself. And take your kids. They might just get a deeper appreciation for some of the most magnificent animals we have the privilege of sharing this planet with.

Tim Stoffel
Lion enthusiast and keeper
Reno, NV

* * *

It's no surprise that two big cat trainers are supportive of the treatment of circus animals ... it's their livelihood ... albeit at the expense of the animals.

If you love them as much as you say, why 'train' them with whips and confine them to unnaturally small spaces?

Do you realize by your statements that the cats love you and are like family that you encourage the misguided notion that big cats make great pets, thus perpetuating the trade in these cats to naive and unprepared backyard owners? Who eventually either shoot their wild, unmanageable 'pet', or are forced to give them away to people like you.

T Abashian
Durham, NC

* * *

Animal rights activists and people who do not know the world of the big cats, spread a misconception that the circus's big cats are taken from the wild. That is furthest from the truth.

The big cats that you see here today in the United States are born and bred here. They have been neutered and loved upon by human parents since the day they were born.

To blatantly make an accusation such as "train them with whips and confine them to unnaturally small spaces," shows me the intellect and the lack of common sense by a person who has not done their homework. They would rather believe what the animal rights terrorists preach then seek the truth.

The circus lions and tigers are giving the best of care, medical, nutrition and enrichment. They perform due to the love they share with their owner and trainer, and are not forced to perform. If an animal appears stressed, they do not perform that show.

Do your homework, before you place judgment. It is people like you who release tigers and lions from their owners, cause death to not only innocent people but death to the animal as well. You release them from safety because you truly do not love the big cats of this world.

Animal Rights Activists who preach what they want to end exotic animal ownership, as well as domestic animal ownership, continue to use such words as "abusive, cruel, stressful, whips, tight collars, electric prods, bullhooks, break an animal's spirit, teach submission" with absolute no proof that this is being done at the Ringling and Barnum Circus.

The ASPCA, Fund For Animals and Animal Welfare Institute lawsuit failed, no proof was given in a court of law. It was all to deceive the general public and use the court system as a tool for their own agenda.

The animal habitats for the Ringling and Barnum Circus supercedes all zoos, sanctuaries, and goes past the expectation of federal regulations.

Whether the animal resides in a zoo, a circus, a private home or sanctuary, they do not have to search for food and water everyday nor deal with drought, habitat destruction, be hunted for their hide, mane or skin. Life in the wild is not some idyllic paradise where every animal lives as if they were in an animated nature film – as animal rights activists would like you to believe.

Animal rights groups are on a mission to end exotic animal ownership. Exotic animals such as tigers, lions, leopards, cougars, monkeys, etc, are well-known, high profile creatures and have been recent targets because animal rights extremists are opportunistic and take advantage of any media opportunity. What they really want to do is take away our right to own the animal of our choice, to close down all zoos, all sanctuaries, all circuses and end private ownership for good (and they have said as much). Their propaganda is not about animal welfare. They have even stated the general public is naïve, unknowledgeable, so much so, that they donate funds and/or volunteer to their cause.

Exotic animals such as snakes, spiders, guinea pigs, turtles, fish, and any animal that is not a dog or a cat, will soon be gone from this earth. The more spaying and neutering is done to the domesticated dog or cat will end our companionship animals as well.

This is our future.

S. Comstock
Captive Exotic Animal Specialist
Circus Specialist

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