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9 December 1999 Issue

ANIMALS DON'T BELONG IN CIRCUSES BECAUSE...
From United Animal Nations

Essay Contest on Animals and Circuses

SACRAMENTO (Sept. 8) With the circus season in full swing across the nation, United Animal Nations, an animal advocacy group based in Sacramento, California, is inviting students to participate in an essay contest that focuses on the treatment of elephants and other circus animals.

The contest, which is open to all youth age 12 and under, asks students to consider the hardships that elephants and other animals endure in performing and traveling with a circus act. Students should respond to the message, Animals Don't Belong in Circuses Because..., with an essay of 300 words or less. The deadline for the contest is November 15.

UAN Executive Director Deanna Soares said the essay contest can be a valuable learning experience for children who may have been to a circus or whose families may be thinking of taking them to a performance and who may have never considered the "behind the scenes" treatment of these animals.

By challenging our students to think about the every day lives of these animals, we can offer them so much more than a few hours spent under the Big Top watching these animals perform, said Soares. She added that circus animals are frequently confined to cages or with chains, forced to travel for days on end, and trained with whips, hooks or other punishment tools.

"The reality is that elephants and other exotic animals such as tigers do not belong in circuses because it is dangerous for them and dangerous for the people around them," said Soares. She noted that at least 27 elephants have died while traveling with or performing in circuses during the last five years, and nearly 20 people have been killed by performing elephants since 1990. Most young people realize the logic and compassion of keeping animals out of circuses once the realities are explained to them.

United Animal Nations can provide background information on circus treatment of animals and the numerous incidents, including fatalities, involved in these performing acts for anyone interested in participating in the contest. The winning entry will be published in an upcoming issue of the UAN Journal, and the winner will receive either a free trip for 20 to an animal-free circus or a special elephant gift pack including t-shirt, book and other surprises.

Entries can be submitted to:
United Animal Nations
P.O. Box 188890
Sacramento, CA 95818
or via email at info@uan.org
Call UAN at (916) 429-2457 with questions.

Go on to National Animal Poison Control Center
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