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Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc.
38 East Market Street, Rhinebeck, New York 12572 USA -  845-876-2626
Vegetarian - Vegan - Animal Rights - Health - Nutrition - Environment

The mission of the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc. is to promote the vegetarian ethic in the Mid-Hudson (New York) region, educate the community and aid anyone in the pursuit of a totally vegetarian (vegan) cruelty-free and healthful lifestyle.

Articles - Letters - and More

Circus of Pain - Letter to the Editor - 13 May 2004

I was both disturbed and delighted to read Erica Freudenberger’s feature, "Circus of Pain" in your May 13 edition. I was disturbed to read, yet again, of the torment and horrors enslaved elephants undergo in traveling circuses. No matter how familiar one becomes with these tails of torment, reading them always shakes and empathetic soul. I was delighted, as well, to see a paper with the guts and journalistic work ethic to blast Walker Brothers Circus. The Saugerties Times might have settled for a fluffy little story on the circus coming to town. Instead, you did the real work of journalism and revealed to readers the horrors and abuses of elephants and other animals that are routine behind the scenes.

The well-worked piece featured sources from the circus, USDA, Saugerties and PETA. Four sources in a story is sadly rare in current media. Each was given a fair chance to contribute their expertise. The terse, inadequate responses of Dale Longmire, of Walker Brothers, revealed that the circus has no real answer to the problem of animal abuse and would simply prefer that the public not look a what happens behind the Big Tent.

Fortunately, circuses that do not include animal acts are becoming more numerous and popular – they’re the norm in Europe now. Humane folks who still wish to enjoy the magic of the circus can find a list of these shows at www.circuses.com.

Thank you for maintaining high journalistic standards and revealing the ugly truth about circus animal suffering.

Jim Van Alstine
Campaigns Coordinator, Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society
Assistant Director, Wildlife Watch

p.s. I had the great pleasure to see elephants in their real homes in Kenya. I was impressed by their intelligence and the obvious love and caring in their family and herd bonds. They did not perform handstands, don headdresses, or volunteer themselves as beasts of burden or entertainers for the amusement of individuals of other species.

We look forward to hearing from you

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