Numerous undercover investigations and news reports have exposed not only the problems inherent with using animals in traveling shows and forcing them to perform unnatural and degrading tricks, while denying them of everything that would enable them to thrive, but also the heartbreaking and violent abuses they're exposed to behind the scenes that range from having food withheld to being beaten in training and blatantly mistreated.
The Westchester County Center in White Plains has been hosting the Royal Hanneford Circus every year on President's Day weekend in February and for decades animals who have been abused by Royal Hanneford are forced to perform. Royal Hanneford Circus has failed to meet minimum federal standards for the care of animals used in exhibition as established in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Royal Hanneford numerous times for failure to provide veterinary care and meet minimum space requirements. An elephant with Royal Hanneford rampaged during a performance, causing spectators to run for safety. Elephants with Royal Hanneford have been treated for a human strain of tuberculosis. As of October 2005, Royal Hanneford Circus no longer has its own USDA license and leases animal acts from other circuses, including Carson & Barnes Circus.*
Even though New York State has banned performing elephants, as the Elephant Protection Act, a law which went into effect this past October, the County Center is still holding the event next month with 8 shows scheduled. Although the state law means they won't have elephants at the show as they have in all past years, they will have other animals. The photo for the shows on the County Center's events section of their Facebook page shows a piglet and a zebra.
NYC has a full ban on performing animals in circuses. There are statewide bans in New Jersey, California and Hawaii. We hope to see Westchester County follow suit. Please sign this petition asking council members to pass this legislation and make Westchester County the next to take a stand against this type of cruelty.