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Circuses

TIPS FOR APPROACHING YOUR SCHOOL BOARD

1. Write a letter to the school board, school superintendents, PTAs and any other school organization that may be involved in promoting a cruel circus.

2. Offer to meet with school officials or give a presentation at a board or PTA meeting. Show them photos or videos of the cruel treatment animals receive in the circus. Inform them of any Animal Welfare Act violations the circus they support has incurred.

3. If further action is needed, create a petition and get students and parents to sign it. Then present it to the school board.

4. If your school board is stubborn, run for a seat on the board! Your election platform: compassion.

 

SAMPLE LETTER TO SCHOOL BOARD

 

Your Address

The date

Name of recipient of letter
Title of recipient
Name of company or organization
Address of company or organization

Dear Sir or Madam [or their name if you know it]:

I am writing to ask the [name of school board] Board to refuse to distribute free tickets, coupons, literature, or any other material encouraging children and their families to go to [name of circus] Circus.

The [name of circus] Circus uses animals in its acts. Animals used in circuses always lead extremely stressful and unnatural lives, and are usually severely beaten and otherwise abused while they are being trained. Devices designed to stab, gouge, slash, cut, bruise, shock, and burn animals are standard tools in training circus animals. Because these are wild animals being taught to perform difficult, unnatural, and often painful tricks, they can never be trusted to perform. Because of this, trainers use tactics that are meant to instill fear and establish dominance on all these animals; these tactics are necessarily violent and abusive.

Circus animals are confined to tiny cages, railroad cars, or trucks for up to 50 weeks each year. These enclosures are barely large enough for the animal to turn around, and in the case of elephants, the animals are chained for 24 hours a day. These cages are often dirty, unprotected from the elements, and crowded. Animals are purposely kept underfed and dehydrated, and it is not uncommon for circus animals to die from these substandard conditions.

It is commonplace for circuses with animal acts to receive multiple citations under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). This act provides only minimum protection to animals, such as requiring that the animal has enough room to turn around, lay down, and stand up, and that they are not left standing in their own waste. It does not prohibit the use of any of the barbaric training devices and methods used to train animals for every circus. Even so, these basic standards provided by the AWA are routinely violated: [look up the record of the particular circus in question, describe the citations it has received, and provide statistics here ­ statistics are available at www.circuses.com].

Animal circuses and other travelling animal attractions have been banned from many municipalities because of the danger these events pose to humans. Circus animals and other captive 'exotic' animals have been responsible for 132 deaths and hundreds more maulings and injuries since 1990. A significant portion of the victims of these attacks were children, and supporting this circus will help this trend to continue. Circus animals are also known carriers of diseases, particularly a human strain of tuberculosis, to which children and the elderly are particularly susceptible. Perhaps more important than the bodily danger circuses pose to children is the psychological damage they can create. Child psychologists have emphasized the importance of learning empathy for children. Events in which animals are forced to perform demeaning tricks teach the opposite. The humiliation that children would witness at the circus puts them at risk of developing aberrant social values, of becoming callous and detached. Alternatively, children might be traumatized by a circus act in which they saw or perceived animal abuse. Acts such as these are not uncommon.

I have [list involvement in school board activities here: your children are in their schools, have been or will be in their schools, you were in their schools, you were a PTA member, you go to school board meetings, or you're simply concerned about the welfare of children in your community]. It would be a grave and dangerous mistake for the school board to sponsor such callous, abusive, and dangerous activities, and I urge you and your organization not to do so. More educational and compassionate programs to teach children about animals are available, as are highly entertaining all-human circuses. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely

[Your Signature]

Your Printed Name


News:
City Won’t Rent Space in Center to Circus, Albuquerque Journal, July 25, 2003
(subscription required)

 

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