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Letter: Circus was a showcase of suffering animals

Circus was a showcase of suffering animals

As someone whose full-time job is dedicated to animals in entertainment issues, I was disappointed to see photos of the Ismailia Shrine Circus at the Hamburg fairgrounds in the paper.

In one photo, a trainer is seen wielding a bullhook next to an elephant. Sharp bullhooks are jabbed into elephants’ sensitive skin in order to get them to lift their legs or do other “tricks.” Circus trainers exploit elephants and other animals’ natural desire to avoid pain to make them balance on balls, spin on pedestals, walk on two legs, and ride bicycles.

The USDA has cited Shrine Circus exhibitors extensively over the years for failing to provide veterinary care, adequate shelter from the elements, nutritious food and clean water. Exhibitors have also been cited for failing to handle animals in a manner that prevents trauma and harm to the animals and ensures public safety. Animals used by Shrine Circuses have killed and injured people.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has banned the use of elephants in entertainment starting in 2019. New York City banned live animal circuses in all five boroughs. Ringling Brothers shut down last year. Modern audiences have made it clear that they do not want to see animals used and abused for entertainment.

Look beyond the cheap lighting and stage props, and see this circus for what is actually is: a showcase of suffering animals who are stuck performing night after night.

Alexa Frandina-Brown

Animals in Entertainment Campaigns

Coordinator for People for the Ethical

Treatment of Animals (PETA)

Amherst

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