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Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, since 1877

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Pressroom » Press Releases

California SPCAs & Humane Societies Call for Boycott of Ringling Bros. Circus

From the Bay Area to Los Angeles agencies across the state urge the public to seek entertainment venues that don’t use animal performers

» July 19, 2012


LOS ANGELES, CA — Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA), Marin Humane Society, Bakersfield SPCA, Ohlone Humane Society, Palo Alto Humane Society, Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA, Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA, Sacramento SPCA, San Francisco SPCA, Santa Cruz SPCA, SPCA for Monterey County and Ventura Humane Society today publicly called for a boycott of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, citing the company’s routine abuse of animals. Ringling Bros. is scheduled to perform in Anaheim, Bakersfield, Oakland, San Diego, San Jose and Stockton throughout July, August and September.

California SPCAs and Humane Societies agree: The use of animals as circus performers is an outdated—and inhumane—concept. Behind the scenes trainers often use whips, bullhooks, electric prods and other painful tools and methods to force animals to perform tricks. When not performing, many animals are kept in small, cramped cages for days at a time with little monitoring. Exotic animals that have special husbandry needs are often kept in violation. Elephants that travel with circuses spend hours in transit and in chains. Many circuses train animals through such coercive means as beating, whipping, prodding and shocking. Elephants may be subject to abusive handling methods from devices known as bullhooks that can puncture and tear sensitive skin.

In March 2012 Ringling Brothers settled a USDA action that resulted in a fine of $270,000 for mishandling animals. This is the largest civil imposed penalty ever issued to a circus by USDA.

Circuses with performing animals send the wrong message especially to children, since wild animals are living beings and are not meant to be exploited for entertainment purposes. Animals do not naturally ride bicycles, walk on their hind legs, balance on balls, or jump through flaming hoops.

There are many wonderful circuses that do not use and/or abuse animals, such as Cirque du Soleil, and they are just as exciting and entertaining, if not more so, than those that do. The public is strongly urged to seek entertainment venues that don’t use animal performers.

For more information or interviews, please contact Ana Bustilloz, spcaLA Director of Communications and Marketing at abustilloz@spcaLA.com or 323-730-5300 x252, 323-707-1271 cell.

About spcaLA
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles, or spcaLA, is an independent, nonprofit animal welfare organization serving Southern California since 1877.  There is no national SPCA, parent organization, or umbrella group that provides financial support to spcaLA.  Donations run programs and services including Cruelty Investigation, Disaster Animal Response Team, Humane Education, and a variety of shelter services.