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Circus controversy ignored

Tribune-Review
| Friday, November 7, 2014 8:57 p.m.

I was disheartened to see that Ticket featured the article “Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus brings ‘Built to Amaze’ marvels to Consol” . Further distressing was that it mentioned nothing about the longstanding controversy surrounding this circus’ training practices and treatment of the (naturally) wild animals performing in its shows.

Instead, the article paints a benign portrait, presumably with the intent of attracting children and families who mistakenly believe it’s a show of lighthearted fun. Internet searches about this circus reveal disturbing photographs and videos of cruel training practices with bullhooks, whips and electric prods. There are also articles about the U.S. Department of Agriculture citing Ringling Bros. numerous times for serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including improper handling, failure to provide adequate veterinary care and unsanitary feeding practices.

Instead of aiming to “teach the audience about some of the engineering factors in circus acts,” why not present them with the truth about what actually goes on behind the scenes — the deplorable treatment of these animals for the sake of greed and profit? This is nothing less than socially sanctioned slavery in which the animals are objectified for profit. That may be a bold statement to some, but easily understood when one sees that these animals spend most of their lives in chains.

Compassionate, aware people recognize that what one does to another living being, one does to the greater whole of humanity. Please think twice about attending what is falsely billed as “the greatest show on earth.”

Carole Hanlin

Penn Township

Westmoreland County

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