Target: Linda Tyer, Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Goal: Ban circuses that abuse wild animals for profit.
The city of Pittsfield, Massachusetts will soon decide whether or not to ban circuses featuring elephants and other non-domesticated animals. Animal advocacy group Berkshire Voters for Animals originally proposed the ban, citing concerns about public health, animal welfare, and weak regulations for traveling circuses.
At a council meeting, several proponents of the ban spoke. One man said that not only do captive animals pose a risk of danger to humans if they escape, but they can transmit life-threatening diseases, such as tuberculosis, to humans. According to the speaker, there were 34 cases of the disease found in elephants in only a decade.
The other obvious issue is the welfare of the animals. Animals such as lions, tigers, elephants, and bears are often subjected to barbaric training methods such as starvation, physical violence, and prolonged chaining. Another speaker passed around a sharp-tipped instrument called a bullhook that is used to beat elephants during training.
Not only do they endure torturous training, they are deprived of any of the enrichment that a natural existence provides. This includes interaction with other animals, a proper diet, and space to roam freely. Where a wild elephant would roam up to 40 miles each day, captive elephants are usually holed up in their enclosures any time they aren’t performing or training.
In order to put a stop to the cruelty rampant in the circus industry, we must stop supporting it. Pittsfield could soon become the latest in a long list of cities and counties that have opted not to support the enslavement of wild animals for human entertainment. Sign the petition below to urge the council to ban wild animal circuses.
Dear Mrs. Tyer,
Pittsfield will soon decide whether or not to ban circuses featuring non-domesticated animals. These animals, including elephants, lions, tigers, and bears, endure brutal training methods and are kept in cruel confinement for much of their lives. They are exploited for entertainment, and often put to death when no longer profitable.
Without financial support, these circuses will fade away. By joining a growing number of localities banning these cruel shows, you would be doing your part to save thousands of animals across America from exploitation. We, the undersigned, ask that you ban all circuses with non-domestic animals from Pittsfield.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Alejandro Linares Garcia