Brian Blessed Gets Behind Campaign To Ban Wild Animal Circuses

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February 20, 2015

Brian Blessed: Profile

As the political saga surrounding the promised ban on wild animals in circuses in the UK continues, legendary actor Brian Blessed has urged the government to “end this circus madness” and finally legislate to ban such acts.

The ‘Flash Gordon’ star’s call for action comes as Animal Defenders International (ADI) reveals that the only and much criticised lion and tiger circus act will not be touring Britain this year.

Brian Blessed said “I am deeply opposed to the use of wild animals in circuses and have been working with Animal Defenders International to oppose such acts for many years. Despite repeated promises from the Government, we are still waiting for the law to pass and the animals are continuing to suffer. Please end this circus madness.”

Brian Blessed is among a string of high profile supporters of ADI’s campaign to ‘Stop Circus Suffering’ in Britain which includes Ricky Gervais, Sir Roger Moore, Brian May,Moby, Imelda Staunton, Eddie Izzard, Twiggy, Annette Crosbie, Sir Paul McCartneyand Dame Judi Dench.

Back in 2011, Brian Blessed made a similar plea following ADI’s shocking exposérevealing the terrible abuse inflicted on Anne, Britain’s last circus elephant. The actor joined the organisation and a delegation of MPs to present a letter to the Prime Minister calling for a ban. At the time Blessed stated, “now is the time for the government to legislate and put a stop, once and for all, to the draconian and humiliating spectacle of wild animals in circuses.”

As a result of changing attitudes and greater awareness of how circus animals are kept, trained and treated following investigations by organisations such as ADI, just two circuses in Britain currently tour with wild animals.

ADI can reveal that Thomas Chipperfield, a relative of the notorious Mary Chipperfield who was prosecuted for animal cruelty following an ADI investigation, who presents the only lion and tiger circus act in Britain, will not be touring with a circus this year. The act featured in Peter Jolly’s Circus last year, attracting widespread criticism and local protests.

Whilst in the circus and at their present overwintering location in Scotland, ADIdocumented how Chipperfield’s lions and tigers exhibited abnormal repetitive behaviour – not seen in the wild but commonly observed in circuses – indicating compromised welfare. Seeing the footage, vets Marc Abraham and Simon Adams said “Big cats are never meant to live like this” and “the limited space available in a travelling circus is unsuitable to big cats”. Although the animals will not be touring, they will likely remain in their temporary, confined living quarters.

ADI President Jan Creamer said, “While the government fails to take action, the suffering of wild animals in circuses will continue and it must take full responsibility. It is time to pass the ban that has long been promised to the public and the animals.”

Little progress has been made since the Government announced it would ban the use of wild animals in circuses in 2012, leading Jim Fitzpatrick MP to introduce a bill. Despite having cross-party support, Christchurch MP Christopher Chope has blocked the backbench bill on seven occasions. The bill will have its next second reading on Friday 27 February.

Whilst Britain stalls on progressing the ban, 30 countries have introduced laws prohibiting animals in circuses. ADI is working with authorities to rescue animals from circuses following wild animal circus bans in Peru and Colombia, and is currently caring for 30 lions and over 20 other animals. The organisation is seeking donations to complete its groundbreaking rescue mission ‘Operation Spirit of Freedom’.

News Link:https://www.looktothestars.org/news/13286-brian-blessed-gets-behind-campaign-to-ban-wild-animal-circuses

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Law to ban wild animals in UK circuses being blocked by three Tory MPs

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“Seriously, these idiots blocking the ban need to go undercover to see the real truth! What elephant in the wild would stand on its head or lion jump through fire…FFS…Watch the video below…if you love your pets, would you let them be treated this way??? There is no difference, all animals are sentient, they feel most emotions humans do; yet they are treated like inanimate objects. their only use is to perform for entertainment, to earn money for their captors!!”

By  Friday 5 December 2014

UK lags behind Bolivia and Bosnia in banning the use of wild animals, such as lions, tigers, zebras and camels, in travelling circuses

‘The days of transporting wild animals in the back of lorries around towns and cities to show them off to people are long gone … Britain should join the 21st century.’ Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

A new law to ban the use of wild animals in circuses is being repeatedly blocked by a trio of Tory backbenchers, despite the personal support of David Cameron, the government, Labour and over 90% of the British public.

The bill was blocked for the seventh time on Friday afternoon, a move its supporters called a “travesty” and an “outrage”. Dozens of lions, tigers, zebras and camels are still used in travelling circuses and in 2012 the government pledged to outlaw what Cameron called the “outdated practice”. But despitepublishing the draft law in 2013, it has since failed to pass it.

Former environment minister Jim Fitzpatrick, a Labour MP, took the government’s bill and presented it as a private members bill, with support from MPs from all main parties. But it has been repeatedly blocked by circus-supporter Andrew Rosindell, along with Christopher Chope and Philip Davies, all Conservative MPs.

“It is very much a matter of a tiny number of Tory backwoodsmen preventing this from happening,” Fitzpatrick told the Guardian. “It is frustrating, but we are keeping the issue alive – it won’t go away.”

“The days of transporting wild animals in the back of lorries around towns and cities to show them off to people are long gone,” he said, noting that many nations, from Bosnia to Bolivia, already have bans and that safari parks and zoos provided alternatives. “We think Britain should join the 21st century.”

“For those that think animals are trained with loving hands…WATCH THIS…then tell me; do you really think they enjoy this life????

 Irrespective of  when this undercover video was taken, the principles for any animals still in circuses are the same; fear. neglect, torment & ridicule!!”

(Uploaded on 8 Dec 2008

The Truth About The Treatment of Animals In Circuses Filmed by Animal Defenders International, this video lifts the lid on the use and abuse of animals in entertainment. • the violence used to train and control the animals • the small cages, temporary pens, and chains the animals live and die in • the long journeys • the unnatural conditions • the animals driven out of their minds by boredom and deprivation)

“It is a travesty that the actions of just three MPs are preventing legislation to end animal suffering from being passed,” said Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International. In April, Cameron told ADI: “Yes, we are going to do it.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the government bill would be passed “when parliamentary time allows”. However, the current parliamentary programme has the smallest number of bills for 20 years. Fitzpatrick said there clearly was time and he had “no idea” why ministers will not fulfil their pledge.

The British Veterinary Association backs the ban, stating: “The welfare needs of wild animals cannot be met within a travelling circus, in terms of housing or being able to express normal behaviour.” The RSPCA said: “Cramped and bare temporary housing, forced training and performance, loud noises and crowds of people are often unavoidable realities for the animals.”

But Rosindell, who has blocked the bill twice said: “The circus is a Great British institution, which has proved that it has the high standards of welfare which are rightly expected of it, and I strongly believe that it deserves to be defended against the propaganda and exaggerations.”

He added: “None have been taken from their natural habitat; all are from several generations of animals born in captivity. I believe it would be much more cruel to remove them from the life they have always known in living and performing with their loving owners in the environment they are accustomed to.”

Creamer said: “By blocking the bill they are defying not only the wishes of their own party and their constituents, but also the British public and Parliament. There is also clearly time to pass a ban and the government needs to act now.” A 2010 government consultation found 94% of the British public supported a ban on wild animal acts.

Maria Eagle, Labour’s shadow environment secretary, said: “The British public will be outraged that, when given the opportunity, a determined group of Tories have repeatedly dug their heels in. The next Labour government will ban wild animals in circuses.”

Fitzpatrick said: “I think a ban on wild animals will come in sooner rather than later, but I have severe reservations about whether we get it in before the election next May.”

News Link:-http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/05/law-to-ban-wild-animals-in-uk-circuses-being-blocked-by-three-tory-mps

Animal Defenders International; Stars Set To Attend Lion Ark Gala Screening

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“I would love see this documentary, but live too far away, I hope it will be shown around England, as I think everyone, not just animal lovers should see it!! Especially those who aren’t aware of the miserable, repetitive & poor conditions, performing animals endure in circuses!!” I am totally ashamed of the English Government, for not fighting & implementing the ban on wild animals in circuses; as they promised. So many other countries have managed to do it, I can’t see any problem, as to  why it has not been in effect sooner; like the British people were promised!!”

December 1, 2014

Bill Oddie: Profile

Special guests including Bill Oddie, Alexei Sayle, Gillian McKeith, Celia Hammond and Bollywood actress Sofia Hayat are set to attend a glitzy gala screening and celebrity fundraiser in Leicester Square on Saturday December 6th for LION ARK, the multi-award winning critically-acclaimed documentary about the rescue of 25 lions from Bolivian circuses.

WHEN: Saturday December 6th, 6pm
WHERE: Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, London, WC2H 7BY
TICKET INFORMATION: Click here

Following sell out screenings at film festivals around the world, LION ARK is now screening in cinemas across the UK.

More action adventure style than traditional documentary, feel-good movie LIONARK charts one of the world’s most ambitious and daring animal rescues, as a team from Britain’s Animal Defenders International (ADI) swoops on eight illegal circuses spread across Bolivia following a ban.

The story begins when ADI secures a ban on animal circuses in Bolivia following a two-year undercover investigation across South America. The shocking findings lead to public outrage and calls for action across the continent. Bolivia is the first to act. Now ADI must help the government enforce the law. The team journey across a vast, hostile terrain to track down the illegal circuses defying the new law, save the animals and bring them to safety, and a joyous finale sees 25 lions airlifted to freedom in the US.

LION ARK Producer and rescue leader Jan Creamer said: “People have been gripped by the way Lion Ark covers a serious issue about saving animals from circuses, but in a uniquely exciting and enjoyable way. The British public can be very proud that the seeds of this historic operation were sown at Animal Defenders International’s headquarters in London, which makes Lion Ark’s West End gala screening a very special event indeed.”

A smash hit on the international film festival circuit, LION ARK is told through live action interviews, in the moment, as events unfold. This is up close and personal, in the thick of the action; you are as close as you can get to these animals and to understanding their life in the circus and feel the fear and joy of the rescuers as they journey through their incredible mission.

LION ARK Director Tim Phillips said: “The response to Lion Ark has been fantastic, receiving standing ovations, armfuls of awards and sell-out shows around the world and we are looking forward to welcoming so many celebrity supporters at the gala screening. This special event is open to the public so that everyone has a chance to enjoy the uplifting animal magic of Lion Ark on the big screen in London’s Leicester Square, and meet the rescue team directly from their latest mission in Peru.”

A similarly ambitious rescue operation – Spirit of Freedom – is now underway in Peru, where ADI is once again assisting authorities to enforce an animal circus ban, having successfully secured legislation. ADI currently has 30 lions, 9 primates and several other animals in its care, and audiences will hear the very latest news from rescue team leaders LION ARK Director Tim Phillips and Producer Jan Creamer, who have come straight from their latest mission to hold Q&A sessions following each screening across the UK.

The LION ARK rescue mission was backed by legendary and Emmy award-winning US TV ‘Price is Right’ game show host Bob Barker and CSI actress Jorja Fox (‘Sara Sidle’), whose company Seafox Productions is an Associate Producer and both appear in the film. Bob Barker’s support enabled the rescue team to empty Bolivia of its suffering circus animals and build new homes for them in the US.

LION ARK has recently been signed into distribution for television, video on demand,DVD / Blu Ray and in-flight entertainment with ITV Studios Global Entertainment, one of the world’s leading distribution companies which has its own channels in Europe, Asia, Africa and Middle East, including flagship ITV broadcasting in 40 countries.

Since opening at Raindance, London and Mill Valley Film Festival, California, LIONARK has taken the film festival circuit by storm with sell out shows, six awards, official selections for 14 prestigious film festivals, and an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding International Motion Picture.

Tickets for LION ARK screenings at UK cinemas including the West End gala and celebrity fundraiser are on sale now. Tickets for the gala start at just £11: click here for more.

Please share this page:http://www.looktothestars.org/news/12956-stars-set-to-attend-lion-ark-gala-screening

England’s Prime Minister Says He Will Ban Wild Animals from Circuses

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BY JOAN REDDY  

England’s Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that he will work quickly to bring forward the Government’s draft bill that will ban wild animals from circuses. The bill was originally published last March, but little progress has been made since then.

 

The British animal rights organization, Animal Defender’s International (ADI),  is concerned that if the ban is not immediately enforced, the implementation date of December 2015 may be missed. Social justice campaigner Peter Tatchell, and former Conservative MEP, author, and conservationist Stanley Johnson approached Prime Minister Cameron with this concern, and asked him to swiftly move on the bill. He responded to their request by saying “[y]es, we are going to do it.”

“It is great that David Cameron told Stanley and me today that he will ban wild animals in circuses. Let’s hold him to it. Circuses deny animals their freedom and suppress their natural, wild nature through confinement, tethering and subjugation. It is wrong for circuses to subject wild animals to such physical and mental suffering. That’s why I am supporting Animal Defenders International’s campaign calling on the Government to urgently legislate a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses,” said Thatchell.

“I am very much hoping that this legislation to ban wild animals in circuses will appear in the Queen’s speech and no further delay will be experienced. Circuses that persist in using wild animals undermine conservation efforts by demeaning animals and presenting them as playthings. These animals belong in their natural wild habitat, not the circus,” said Johnson. “I applaud Animal Defenders International on its work to stop circus suffering and urge the Government to join the growing number of countries that have banned wild animal acts,” he added.

The elephant-shaped letter requesting Prime Minister Cameron to quickly move the bill forward, has been signed by celebrities that include Eddie IzzardJulian Clary,MobyMichaela Strachan, and Brian Blessed. Also, among the signatories, isEton, whom is a famous alumni of Prime Minister Cameron’s old school, as well as actor Dominic West and sustainable investment leader Ben Goldsmith.

“We are delighted that David Cameron has promised the ADI deputation that he will bring forward the ban on wild animals. So many celebrities and politicians have joined ADI to call on the Government to implement its promised ban on wild animals in circuses. After a 20 year wait the public wants to see this done and if the Government fails to deliver on this promise, it will be directly responsible for continued animal suffering,” said ADI Chief Executive, Jan Creamer.

At the moment, more than two hundred local authorities in the UK, and twenty-five countries worldwide have restricted using animals in circuses. A 2010 Defra consultation showed that 94 percent of Britain’s population opposed the use of animals in circuses, and in 2011 sixty-three MPs also agreed that the Government should ban wild animal circus acts.

Hopefully, Britain will soon be the twenty-seventh country to rescue wild circus animals from a life of captivity, abuse and exploitation.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

News Link:-http://www.ecorazzi.com/2014/04/10/englands-prime-minister-says-he-will-ban-wild-animals-from-circuses/

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PLYMOUTH TOWN MEETING: Petitioned article aims to ban wild animal circuses

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Frank Mand Old Colony Memorial Posted Mar. 26, 2014 @ 4:00 pm 

Put yourself in their shoes or, rather, in their cages, Kati Carloni says.

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.”

Read the Next 2 pages of this very truthful & Interesting News Link:http://plymouth.wickedlocal.com/article/20140326/NEWS/140327528/?tag=1

 

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Circus Showtime: Despite Ban Not Seriously Observed

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Global Times | 2013-12-23 19:53:01

Located in Jiufeng Forest Park in Wuhan, Hubei Province, is a “Dream Theater” that puts on animal performances, drawing applause from audiences and growing criticism from animal rights activists

Their circus shows, which include jumping tigers, cycling bears and monkeys riding goats, attract throngs of people at 10 am and 2 pm every day.

Trainer Zhang Jiafeng performs with five tigers onstage. Photo: IC

During peak seasons, like the National Day holidays, the show is put on up to eight times a day, pushing both trainers and animals to the limit.

The trainers’ job is by no means an easy one. For Zhang Jiafeng, 21, who has been performing with the tigers for four years, maintaining safety is still paramount.

During performances, a fence separates the audience from the stage. However, the most dangerous moment for the trainers, Zhang said, is the journey between the den and the stage before and after the show, during which the trainers are placed in an enclosed space with the animals without any protection.

Trainer Zhang Jiafeng sends the tigers from their den to behind the stage ahead of a show. Photo: IC

Despite the danger and psychological pressure involved in this work, the performers and trainers in this circus make at most 4,000 yuan a month.

A goat named Xiaofang and a monkey are one of the most popular duos in the circus. Photo: IC

Animal performances are facing tighter controls in China. The country so far hasn’t legislated on animal welfare, which is still a fairly new concept for the nation. However, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development has ordered twice, in 2010 and 2013, an end to all kinds of animal performances. The ban has not been seriously observed

News Link:-http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/833711.shtml#.Urle8dLud84

Nevada County Fair Board Votes To Retain Contract For Elephant Rides

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“Another email that warrants being shared, so please send to friends etc.”

The Nevada County Fair board of directors failed to do the right thing a second time, by voting, 8-1, at its meeting on July 16, 2013, to retain its contract for elephant rides. More than 70 people testified for more than three hours, with about 75% of the speakers opposing the rides. Only five of those who spoke out against the rides were not Nevada County residents.

PAWS‘ director of science, research and advocacy, Catherine Doyle, presented testimony at the meeting, including a letter signed by elephant experts and conservationists from around the world who oppose using elephants for rides. 

The Fair board set the tone of the meeting, when it stated that it would only consider new evidence on the topics of safety, the use of animals in entertainment, and the reputation of the company providing the rides, Have Trunk Will Travel.

It was obvious that the board had little intention of changing its position, and it was made clear that the number of people opposing the rides would not be a factor in their decision.

Sign Petitions Here Please:-

 In the end, the Fair board chose to dismiss undercover video of Have Trunk Will Travel caught by Animal Defenders International that shows the company’s owner and employees viciously striking elephants with bullhooks and using an illegal electric shock device during training.

To us at PAWS, it is unfathomable that anyone could watch the video and not find the treatment of the elephants reprehensible. 

“The board looked long and hard at the video and the testimony,” said Fair board president Tom Browning“We feel they (Have Trunk Will Travel) have a very good operation…this is the mindset of the board.”  “Bull shit…they obviously didn’t see the video I did, of baby elephants trunk being held & pulled to make him conform to commands. They didn’t see an electric pod being used on an elephant who screamed out in pain, as she was forced to stand on her head! This is appalling, this board is anything but fair!”

Training for rides involves violently breaking and training elephants, and controlling them

Trained by force, fear & abuse

Trained by force, fear & abuse

through dominance and fear of pain for the rest of their lives. Handlers use the bullhook – a steel rod resembling a fireplace poker – to routinely prod, hook and strike elephants so they comply with every command.

Not only did the board reject clear-cut evidence of abusive treatment, it failed to address the fact that the Fair lacks an emergency preparedness plan specific to an elephant escape. PAWS had requested various safety documents pertaining to emergency procedures, which the Fair was unable to produce.

Though many members of the Fair board claimed to have researched elephant rides, they opted to accept only information that supported their already established position, and the information that members presented was often inaccurate.

PAWS is working together with local organizations to plan an educational public demonstration when the Fair takes place in Grass Valley, California, on August 7-11.This will be a peaceful protest that is suitable for all ages. We urge you to attend (invite family and friends!) and show your support and compassion for the elephants. 

In the coming weeks, we’ll be providing more details on our efforts, so stay tuned. Mark those dates on your calendar now. The fairgrounds are located approximately 70 miles north of Sacramento.

Website link:http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=68strdcab&v=001TTzY1hjm9FiiViisKsGk63YMz9RaRLjYqZrbNYAmP8BG_Q6R4ioqMgHLE6AaNiugYVN4nNi3vXuZJ-v46hq6JnIkVaXtq_2lnf87vEmeR33TN3M7FTbaY5LVmdF1ZKUvGSLoTJLSKHEU3QrnjTJlKbV2NzAVluKIP9MPXxZCvkiG4tsSdm4OuU_M8rTJH1bHpCwLB5HzEJ80lhzZtfhv1g1PIoxgeQKnIfUQF2cxwIQ0miE9qzc5Iw%3D%3D

Letter signed by elephant experts and conservationist:-

July 12, 2013
Statement by elephant professionals in opposition to elephant rides PAWS has invited professionals in science, conservation and elephant care to join us in endorsing the following statement that addresses the use of
elephants for rides.

We, the undersigned, are opposed to the use of elephants for rides at county fairs, carnivals, circuses, zoos and other recreational activities, for the following reasons:
  • It is wrong to allow our children to think that elephants used for rides are living an acceptable life, when evidence for the opposite is overwhelming.
  • Reducing elephants to the equivalent of a carnival ride distorts the public’s understanding of elephants and of their endangered status in the wild.
  •  Elephants are highly intelligent, curious and socially complex animals who possess a range of emotions, and are empathetic and self-aware. It is appalling to see these astonishing animals reduced to walking in small circles for hours as they give rides.
  • Elephants used for rides were traumatically taken from their mothers as calves. Female elephants, those typically used for rides, would naturally remain with their families for life.
  • Elephants used for rides are deprived of what is natural to them, including the ability to move freely in a vast natural environment, to be part of a family and extended social network, and to have choice and control over their lives.
  • Elephants are wild animals. They are not domesticated, so they retain their innate wild natures, which are often brutally suppressed.
  • The extreme training that is necessary to dominate and control elephants for providing customers with “safe” rides is abusive. It is well documented that elephants are trained to comply with commands through use of the menacing weapon called the bullhook and fear of painful punishment.
  • Elephants used for rides are under a great deal of stress from being held in conditions to which they are unsuited, including prolonged chaining, confinement in cramped trucks and pens, extensive travel, and ongoing threat of punishment.
  • There are many documented incidents in which elephants have “snapped,” and have injured or killed people.
  • The interests and well-being of elephants used for rides will always be secondary to the profits the company needs to maintain itself.
  • Elephant rides do not contribute to the conservation of elephants, or to an awareness of the plight of wild elephants.
  • On the contrary, elephant rides may divert funds from genuine, and deeply important, conservation work.
  •  Conservation is a noble cause and it is demeaned by unethical companies that use it as a public relations ploy to distract the public from this inhumane, unsafe and outdated use of elephants.
  •  It is wrong to keep alive an outdated practice that we know is brutal for elephants.

Given current knowledge, it is unjustifiable to use elephants for recreational rides, and it is wrong to allow elephants to suffer just so they can entertain us.

The times are changing. More and more county fairs and other community events are eschewing elephant
rides due to public safety and humane concerns.
We advise event organizers to reject elephant rides, and we strongly urge the public to refrain from riding elephants, to oppose elephant rides if they are proposed for a community event, and to support legitimate conservation organizations that are making a real difference for elephants.
Sincerely,

Ed Stewart President and Co-founder, PAWS

Cynthia Moss, Director, Amboseli Trust for Elephants (Kenya)
Joyce H. Poole, Ph.D., Co-Founder, Co-Director, ElephantVoices
Petter Granli, Co-Founder, Co-Director, ElephantVoices
Peter Stroud, Independent Zoological Consultant, Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature/Species Survival Commission Asian Elephant Specialist Group
Phil Ensley, DVM, DACZM, Former associate veterinarian with the San Diego Zoo
W. Keith Lindsay, Ph.D., Conservation Biologist & Member, Scientific Advisory Committee, Amboseli
Elephant Research Project (Kenya)
David Hancocks, Former Director at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona, Seattle’s
Woodland Park Zoo, Australia’s Werribee Open Range Zoo and Melbourne Zoo
Scott Blais, International Elephant Consultant
Carol Buckley, founder and CEO of Elephant Aid International and founding director of The lephant Sanctuary in Tennessee
John W. Freeze, Retired Animal Husbandry Supervisor (Elephants), North Carolina Zoological Park
Gary Kuehn, DVM, Former veterinarian with the Los Angeles Zoo Henry Melvyn Richardson, DVM
Will Travers OBE, CEO The Born Free Foundation, UK and Born Free USA
PDF Document:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10, 2013
CONTACT: Catherine Doyle, PAWS Director of Science, Research & Advocacy,
cdoyle@pawsweb.org
Nevada County Fair Lacks Sufficient Safety Precautions for Elephant Rides San Andreas, Calif.
The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) contends that the Nevada County Fair does not have adequate information or an action plan to protect the public from the serious risks associated with elephant rides.
The controversial rides will be offered for the first time at this year’s Fair, August 7-11, in Grass Valley, California.
“The Fair has been lulled into complacency by false assurances that elephant rides are safe, when that is the farthest thing from the truth,” said PAWS president, Ed Stewart, who has more than 32 years of experience caring for elephants. “Our intention is not to discomfit the Fair board, but to inform the public that elephant rides pose a serious risk, and that there is insufficient preparation on the part of the Fair should an incident occur.”
PAWS recently filed a California Public Records Act request, and learned that the Fair lacks key information necessary to protect public safety.
For example, there is no emergency plan that is specific to an elephant escape, a situation for which most law enforcement agencies are unprepared and unequipped. In fact, the Fair’s evacuation plan calls for preventing people from entering buildings, the very places that might provide safe haven during an escape.
Other safety and security documents the Fair was unable to produce were:
  • An elephant escape and recapture plan provided by Have Trunk Will Travel, the Southern California company providing the rides – Without a plan, there would be no communication and coordination between the elephant ride provider and the local first responders in the event of an escape.
  •  Have Trunk Will Travel’s protocol for securing elephants when they are not giving rides, during the daytime and overnight – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cited the company last year for failure to safely handle an elephant at a county fair in South Dakota. The elephant was left unmonitored while she was rested from giving rides, creating a risk to the public.
  • A history of Tuberculosis test results for all elephants owned by Have Trunk Will Travel, including those to be used for rides –Elephants can carry tuberculosis, which is transmissible to humans. Due to the prevalence of the disease in elephants and risks to public health, the USDA requires that all exhibitors test their elephants annually for tuberculosis.

In addition, the Fair did not produce veterinary records for the elephants to be used for rides, which would show whether they are suffering from diseases, such as arthritis and foot infections, commonly caused by inadequate captive conditions. Chaining and cramped confinementduring travel to the Fair and at the Fair – would exacerbate these conditions and negatively impact the elephants’ welfare.

PAWS has long monitored and documented the numerous incidents involving elephants used for rides that have resulted in human injuries and deaths. In 2000, PAWS co-founder, the late Pat Derby, testified before a Congressional committee on this serious safety issue.

“We are urging the Nevada County Fair to cancel the elephant rides because they are unsafe, outdated and inhumane,” said Stewart. “For over a century the Fair has been successful without elephant rides – and the serious risk and controversy that come along with them.”

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