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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 30, 2013 at 11:21 AM

The treatment of circus animals

Ringling Bros. animals are thriving

Caretaker Tripp Gorman helps lead a procession of Asian Elephants with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus on their way to the ShoWare Center in Kent in 2009. [John Lok, The Seattle Times.]

Caretaker Tripp Gorman helps lead a procession of Asian Elephants with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus on their way to the ShoWare Center in Kent in 2009. [John Lok, The Seattle Times.]

In their recent letter to the editor, Nancy and David Spilberg have their “facts” about Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey animal care all wrong. [“Northwest Voices: Here comes the circus,” seattletimes.com, Sept. 23.]

The claims they make are a direct affront to the men and women with Ringling Bros. who care for our animals 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it’s time we set the record straight.

Ringling Bros. has more than 143 years of experience caring for elephants, tigers and other exotic animals. We are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Spilbergs seem to echo claims made by other animal-rights activists, by demonizing approved elephant-husbandry tools that are humanely used by highly trained and experienced professionals.

All of the routines audiences see at Ringling Bros. are based on the animals’ natural behaviors (yes, elephants lie down, sit up and stand on their heads, I’ve seen it firsthand), and all of our animals are trained using only positive reinforcement, repetition and reward.

Everyone with Ringling Bros. hopes Greater Seattle-area families will come and see for themselves what we know to be true: that our animals are healthy and thriving in our care.

Stephen Payne, vice president of corporate communications, Feld Entertainment, Vienna, Va.

0 Comments | More in animals | Topics: animals, circus, elephants

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