Asheville Voice for Animals wants City Council to ban circuses that feature exotic animals. Ringling Bros. closed its’ recent run in Asheville Sunday. Those attending performances at the civic center walked past protesters critical of the circus and its treatment of elephants. Asheville Voice for Animals says Ringling Bros. uses cruel and abusive training methods and should not be allowed to stage its productions in the city. A spokes-woman for the protesters says her members are planning to meet with Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer next week to urge her to support the ban.
Lafayette Prescott was one of the protesters. Prescott says it’s time for all circuses to end the exploitation of exotic animals. He spoke with David Hurand. Audio below.
Rnglings Bros. issued the following statement concerning its’ treatment of elephants:
- Studies have shown that the public display of performing elephants contributes to heightened public awareness of the animals themselves and of our responsibility for their well-being and protection. This is especially true for children, who not only become more aware of elephants and their special needs and abilities, but also experience firsthand the importance of caring for and respecting all animals.
- The display and care of elephants and other performing animals are subject to animal welfare laws and regulations at the federal, state and local levels. Ringling Bros. has an excellent record of care for all our animals.
- Under the federal Animal Welfare Act, all circuses are required to have a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) exhibitor's license. The USDA conducts regular unannounced inspections of performing animals and their stable areas. The federal Animal Welfare Act regulates and sets guidelines for housing, transportation and care for most of our performing animals. However, Ringling Bros. observes these guidelines for our entire animal family.
- Circuses and other animal exhibitors are also subject to state and local animal welfare laws and permit requirements. Such regulations provide protection to all performing animals and allow for the prosecution of those who neglect or mistreat the animals in their care.