Do away with cruel circus shows

Caring people should know that Garden Bros. Circus, which is scheduled to appear this week at the Florence Center, leases animal acts from suppliers who have atrocious records of animal care.

Last year, one of the circus’ animal contractors was cited by federal officials for repeatedly whipping a llama when the animal would not perform during a Garden Bros. show. One of its elephant exhibitors has been cited for using a bullhook (an implement that resembles a fireplace poker) with excessive force on an elephant, failure to provide veterinary care to a thin elephant that had been losing weight for two years and failure to safely handle and supervise elephants, including while they were giving rides to the public.

Garden Bros.’ most recent elephant supplier was cited when an animal control agency in Georgia discovered that two elephants were made to stand on concrete, despite having bruised feet, and both had lesions covered in Wonder Dust (a gray powdered blood-coagulant that is commonly used to cover wounds). This summer, an Animal Services officer in Missouri charged three animal suppliers performing for Garden Bros. Circus with failing to provide adequate care and shelter to two elephants, five horses, six ponies and one camel, all of whom were standing in direct sunlight on hot asphalt in 89 degree temperatures and with no access to shade.

Circuses that use wild animals are a throwback to times when there were few entertainment choices and we had no idea that elephants and other animals are sentient beings with many of the same feelings, emotions and needs as people. Florence should join the ranks of cities, counties and even entire states that are passing legislation to do away with these cruel shows.

JAYNE BOSWELL

Florence Area Humane Society

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