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5 March 2000 Issue
Great European Circus Not So Great For Animals

Convicted animal abuser Bela Tabak is currently touring as the Great European Circus. The circus is traveling with ponies, a horse, peacocks, and a duck. These animals are not covered by the Animal Welfare Act. As part of the show, a witness reports that six peacocks are put on a wheel and spun around, causing them to become flustered and disoriented.

Also during the show, a clown comes out with what he calls a "duck plucker." He puts a live duck in a tiny box then sets off a firecracker near the box. The firecracker is so loud that the audience jumps. The duck is never seen again. The clown then pulls out a rubber chicken.

Tabak was videotaped beating a baby elephant named Mickey during a September 17, 1994 performance in Lebanon, Oregon. The 15-month-old elephant collapsed, screaming and bleeding. Tabak pleaded no contest to animal abuse charges brought by local authorities. The USDA suspended Tabak's license for 60 days and he is prohibited from working with elephants for 5 years. Tabak has toured as the Great European Circus and Royal American Circus, and with the now-defunct King Royal Circus.

He has also been cited by the USDA for failure to provide proper handling, veterinary care, environmental enhancement, adequate shelter from elements, adequate enclosures, and clean water. He was issued an official letter of warning for noncompliances found during a December 28, 1999 inspection.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Intentionally causing trauma and distress to the peacocks and duck may violate local cruelty laws. If the Great European Circus comes to your area:

* Notify PETA by responding to this email (DebbieL@peta-online.org) or calling

757-622-7382, ext. 311.

* Alert your local humane society or animal control agency and ask that they enforce applicable anticruelty statutes.

* Please circulate this notice.

Source: "Debbie Leahy" <iaa@igc.org

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