End the use of animals in Ringling Bros. Circuses!

On January 4th, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus kicked off its 2006 season in Tampa, Florida, launching yet another year of traveling the country with captive wild and exotic animals.

The use of animals in the circus is an unnecessary and inhumane practice that is harmful to both the animals and the public. Wild animals are trained to perform unnatural tricks to entertain crowds through the use of barbaric tools - including bullhooks, chains, and electric prods. These tricks are unnatural, frightening, and even painful; but the industryÂ’s mantra is "the show must go on."

Even worse, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has documented that all major circuses have been cited for deficiencies in their animal care ranging from the deprivation of clean water and fresh food to clean living quarters and even the most basic shelter from weather. Even these minimal requirements are noted as not being met. It is no secret that animals in circuses spend most of their days in boxcars, cages, or chains, in conditions very different from those in which they would naturally live.

Please join us in telling Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey to put a stop to such cruelty and cease using wild and exotic animals in its circuses!

Dear Mr. Feld:

I am writing to urge you to put a halt to animal cruelty and stop using wild and exotic animals in your circus.

Animals exploited for human entertainment face appalling treatment, pose threats to public health and safety, are currently not adequately regulated by state and federal laws, and do not conserve endangered species as is so often claimed.

I strongly believe that the standard industry tools and methods used to initially "break" and train animals throughout their lives, including the bullhook, chaining, food and water deprivation, use of whips, clubs and blunt objects, and electric prods, are incredibly inhumane. In addition, subjecting circus animals to travel for up to 11 months of the year for thousands of hours, over long distances, is unspeakably cruel. As you know, these animals may be chained while not performing, transported in vehicles that lack climate control, and forced to stand or lie in their own waste.

Wild animals used in public displays are dangerous — and even deadly. Recent incidents nationwide highlight the need for tighter restrictions on the exhibition of these animals. In addition to the many documented escapes and attacks by captive animals used for exhibition, elephants may carry tuberculosis (TB), and can infect humans with the bacterial disease.

Circuses are entertainment, not education. Watching wild animals perform unnatural tricks only teaches our children that it is acceptable to exploit animals; it does not teach respect for animals, nor does it help animals in the wild. Animal-free circuses and entertainment, such as Cole Brothers Circus and Cirque du Soleil, are growing as the use of wild animals becomes recognized as archaic, unsafe and inhumane.

For the sake of human safety and animal welfare, please stop using animals in Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circuses.

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.

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