Animal Writes
23 April 2000 Issue
Elephant Rampage in California Proves Circus Danger, AGAIN!

According to Ed Stewart at the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in Galt, CA, an 18 year-old African elephant from the Culpepper and Merriweather Circus escaped and went on a rampage Thursday night in the Yucca Valley near San Bernardino, CA. Reports from CA news outlets verify the elephant crushed a circus employee's hip and was loose for several hours before being recaptured.

Sterling and Reid Circus is currently touring New Mexico and has been the subject of national media reports since April 2, 2000 when a 400 pound bear named Gaika fell from a moving truck in Louisiana and was not missed until the driver stopped for fuel 20 miles later. A New Mexico Game and Fish permit shows that in addition to bears, the circus is traveling with three elephants, tigers and horses. Flyers for the circus showcase a hyena and shark as well, neither of which were disclosed on the Game and Fish permit.

Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) has learned the three elephants, sub-contracted through Miller Equipment Company, a subsidiary of Carson and Barnes Circus based in Hugo, OK, are all wild caught Asian elephants. Chang, Lulu and Zola were captured as juveniles between 1965 and 1975 and broken for circus life. (Carson and Barnes are known to have an equally poor animal care record and one USDA complaint reveals a Carson and Barnes employee stabbing two elephants with a knife in 1995 when they reached for hay.)

"Wild animals who have known freedom are more prone to escape and rampage than animals born in captivity and New Mexicans should be wary of attending any show with exotic animal acts," says Elisabeth Jennings, APNM's Executive Director. APNM contends elephants are inherently wild animals and even those born in captivity are prone to rampages that damage property or injure and kill spectators, workers and innocent community members. Further proving the danger and frequency of rampages, current federal legislation H.R. 2929 would ban traveling elephant acts and elephant rides.

Sterling and Reid Bros. Combined Shows has an abysmal record of animal care and is currently the subject of two open investigations by the USDA. Their history includes: a tiger escaping from a performing area; animals left without protection from the elements; cages too small to allow normal postural adjustments; and inexperienced and unqualified animal handlers.

Sterling and Reid have already performed in Hobbs and Roswell and will hold performances in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Vegas, NM when they return from El Paso this weekend. APNM will leaflet and demonstrate at Sterling and Reid performances on April 24 - 25 in Albuquerque across from the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center 2401 12th St. NW and April 26 in Santa Fe at the Santa Fe Rodeo Grounds on Rodeo Road. Leafleting is planned for every circus performance from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. each day.

Animal Protection of New Mexico

PO Box 1215 Santa Fe, NM 87504

Source: [email protected] 

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