Animal Defenders of Westchester

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We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704


Natick should keep circus out

Published in the Metro West Daily News in Boston

July 16, 2001

I was deeply saddened to see that the lovely town of Natick played host to the Clyde Beatty Circus. This circus has failed to meet even minimal standards as set by the Animal Welfare Act, having gotten a record 46 citations in a five month period. These citations involved safety to people as well as animals.

Natick should seriously consider barring all circuses that use animal acts. My organization got a frantic call during the recent Clyde Beatty run here. They were using a bullhook on the same elephant, Bessie, as named in your article, who was crying in pain. The USDA is permitting her to work, carrying up to ten children on her back, though they acknowledge she has a chronic arthritic left leg.

We fought with Clyde Beatty for ten years to retire Helen, an elephant with the same condition; one month after her retirement, Helen was taken off grounds and died under mysterious circumstances. The USDA said that since it occurred off circus grounds, no autopsy was necessary.

The USDA's lack of credibility was exposed on a recent DATELINE when undercover video showed their agents giving rubber-stamp approval to puppy mills with filthy, sick breeder animals; indeed, it revealed some agents owned these pathetic facilities.

Circus animals are intelligent and feel joy and pain just like us.

Several cities across the U.S. have banned traveling animal acts, including a recent ban in Stamford, Connecticut.

Furthermore, when I read Adam Hill's explanation for why elephants die soon after retirement, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

The elephants 'waste away because they miss traveling in boxcars and standing on their heads'? I guess you'll say almost anything when your business's yearly take of almost 50 million dollars a year is threatened.

Kiley Blackman, spokesperson
Animal Defenders of Westchester

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