[Letter to Rivertowns Enterprise - April 2018]
To the Editor:
The Royal Hanneford Circus, which makes extensive use of animals, is coming to the Westchester County Center. We urge you not to go. The abuse and cruelty inflicted on circus animals – including by the RHC - is widely recognized and a matter of record, including with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Elephants in particular are subjected to horrific training techniques to prepare them for circus performance. Baby elephants, after being separated from their mothers and transported to another continent, re subjected to a particularly horrific form of torture referred to as "crushing," the goal of which is to destroy the elephant’s spirit and will, and make it physically compliant. This process, and the on-going training of circus elephants throughout their lives, includes the use of bull hooks (a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker), electric prods and ropes. The elephants pend most of their life in chains and are transported in boxcars for up to 100 hours at a time.
Due to its long-standing abject neglect and abuse, and its many violations of the Animal Welfare Act, in October 2006 the RHC lost its USDA license to handle elephants, which it has leased from the Carson & Barnes Circus. Carson & Barnes’ head trainer was previously caught on camera viciously attacking elephants with a bull hook shocking them with electric prods, and ordering trainers to dig sharp metal hooks into the elephants’ flesh until they scream in agony.
Elephants are well-known as highly intelligent, complex, emotional, empathic and social beings, making these practices – inflicted for no reason other than to enable us to watch them perform humiliating and degrading “tricks” - that much more heart-breaking.
Please don’t support this. Please don’t go.
David Ebert – 60 Hamilton Avenue, Hastings
Joel Litvin – 98 Villard Avenue, Hastings
The writers are co-founders of the Animal Defense Partnership, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides pro bono legal services nationwide to animal rights, welfare and protection charities. www.animaldefensepartnership.org