Letter: Ringling Brothers Animal Abuse

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As a lifelong resident of Nassau County, I am very disappointed that the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus continues to perform in our county with their abused animals. Ringling Bros. has a deplorable animal-care record. Feld Entertainment, the show’s producer, paid the largest civil penalty ever assessed against an exhibitor in the history of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) for dozens of AWA violations found by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors in 2011, with a most recent offense at the close of 2014 documented in a USDA inspection report whereby three ailing elephants were denied daily veterinary treatment because Ringling’s elephant caretaker claimed he could not access them while they are confined to boxcars. This resulted in their not receiving medication for their conditions for days on end. Dozens of photographs depicting horrendously cruel training methods were released by a retired Ringling trainer named Sam Haddock, along with a sworn statement stating that the elephants scream, cry and struggle as they are stretched out, slammed to the ground, gouged with bullhooks, and shocked with electric prods.  

I was one of many Long Island residents to join alongside members of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to protest the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus outside of the Nassau Coliseum last week (March 4-8). It is my hope that Nassau County will soon join the likes of the Town of Southampton and ban circuses that use any method that causes an animal pain, discomfort or suffering as a means to perform and promote humane entertainment for its residents and their children instead.  

—JoAnn Winkhart

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