Published in THE JOURNAL NEWS, 2/15/02:
Recently The New York Times ran a full-page ad written
by Kenneth Feld of the Ringling Bros. Circus, which
maligned animal-protection activities and lauded Ringling as "caretakers of
our animal partners." As a dedicated animal-rights volunteer, I wish to
address certain omissions in this ad.
Mr. Feld boasts of the acquittal of a famed elephant
trainer during an animal cruelty case in San Jose; but, unfortunately,
celebrities are frequently afforded less harsh treatment by the court system
- this has always been so, and continues to this date. Our system of
justice, though one of the best in the world, isn't without flaws; sometimes
the innocent are sent to jail, sometimes the guilty walk free.
Far from being a philanthropist, Ringling's involvement
with animals stops immediately the day they do not create a profit for
If Ringling really wants to help animals, why doesn't
it apply some of its $200 million-plus yearly profit to the protection and
conservation of the animal's homeland, as other organizations have?
Animal-user circuses are poachers who feed the
fascination with watching nonhuman animals perform unnatural acts.
Fact: The U.S. Department of Agriculture repeatedly
cites Ringling for failure to provide care to dying animals, possess records
of veterinary care, or provide animals with sufficient space and exercise.
In less than two years, two baby elephants died, a caged tiger was shot to
death, a horse who was used despite a chronic medical condition died during
Ringling's traditional animal march, and a wild-caught sea lion was found
dead in her transport container.
The writer is spokesperson,
Animal Defenders of Westchester
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