Wild and exotic animals that are part of travelling circuses often spend 10 or 11 months a year living in trailers or boxcars, their movement limited further by chains, brought out once or twice a day for exercise or to perform tricks.
It’s easy to imagine what it would be like, Carloni says. Simply think of a prisoner doing life without parole.
Not surprisingly Carloni’s name is the one attached to an article placed – by petition – on the warrant of the April 5 spring Town Meeting – an article that, if passed, would ban traveling circuses that display wild or exotic animals from putting up their tents within the town’s boundaries.
She admits that this is a personal issue, that she has always been opposed to circuses displaying these creatures. But Carloni is adamant that this is an issue that deserves the support of the community, an issue whose time has come.
“In this country we have many laws that protect domesticated animals against abuse or neglect,” Carloni says, “but these beautiful wild animals are not protected.”
A big part of the problem, she explains, is the mobile nature of these circuses. Reports of abuse or neglect are forgotten or unenforceable because before authorities can act, the circus moves on to another town or state.
This is not just Carloni’s opinion. Her article has the support of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) and the South Shore Humane Society. And she refers those who are skeptical about the treatment of these animals to Animal Defenders International (ADI).
ADI’s website points out that similar regulations have been passed in dozens of communities around the country, and the world. Austria, Denmark, Sweden, and Portugal and more than 20 other countries have instituted similar bans nationwide.
Two years ago, with ADI providing support and extensive documentation of the abuse of these animals, the “Travelling Exotic Animal Protection Act” (TEAP) was introduced in Congress, and similar legislation has been brought forward in the Houses of Parliament in the United Kingdom. “Which has yet to be enforced; if at all!”
Matt Rossell, campaigns manager for Animal Defenders International (ADI), which describes itself as an “animal rescue organization with a commitment to securing progressive animal protection legislation around the globe,” says that exotic animals are literally going crazy in the circus.
“It’s simply hard to argue in the 21st century, given all that we know about these animals’ complex needs, their intelligence,” Rossell says, “hard to argue that it’s acceptable to keep them in tiny cages, parking lots and trucks and trailers and train cars for most of their lives.”
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