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People who care about animals have turned away from exploitative circuses

Re: 'Thousands Enjoy Jamil Shrine Temple's Royal Hanneford Circus' (Feb. 12)

Dear Editor,

People who care about animals have turned away from exploitative circuses like Royal Hanneford Circus and are supporting only those that feature willing human performers.

Because Royal Hanneford Circus doesn't possess a U.S. Department of Agriculture exhibitor's license, it leases elephants from Carson & Barnes Circus, whose animal-care director was videotaped beating these intelligent, social animals with sharp metal-tipped bullhooks, shocking them with an electric prod, and instructing trainers to jab weapons into their flesh until they screamed in pain.

In 2016, Carson & Barnes was fined $16,000 and Royal Hanneford was fined $7,000 after elephants who'd been frightened by audience noise were injured while escaping their handlers.

When Royal Hanneford held an exhibitor's license, it was cited repeatedly for violating federal animal-welfare laws by failing to provide animals with adequate veterinary care and adequate space. It's also been cited more than 10 times for not providing elephants with proper foot care. Foot problems and arthritis are the primary reasons why captive elephants are euthanized.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus refused to acknowledge shifting public sentiment and finally shut down last year. The new owner of Kelly Miller Circus recognized the change in the public's attitude toward the exploitation of animals for entertainment and announced this year that it will no longer use animals. If Royal Hanneford doesn't get with the times, its days are numbered.

Until then, people who don't want to see animals suffer can make their feelings clear by refusing to attend performances.

Sincerely,

Rachel Mathews, Esq.

Associate Director

Captive Animal Law Enforcement

PETA Foundation

1536 16th St. N.W.

Washington, DC 20036

02-680-8276 (mobile)

RMathews@petaf.org

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