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Jordan Engelke, Published April 08 2009

Circus mistreats captive animals

On April 17-19, the Shrine Circus will be visiting Fargo and hundreds of families will bring their children to see this event, and while parents may think they are treating the little ones to an afternoon of fun, in reality, they are promoting animal cruelty.

Circuses performing for Shriners have been fined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the following violations of animal rights: inadequate and unsafe enclosures, mishandling animals, endangering animals and the public, failure to provide shelter, exercise, nutritious food and clean drinking water, and failure to provide proper veterinary care.

The fact is animals do not naturally ride bicycles, stand on their heads or jump through rings of fire. Trainers use whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, bullhooks and other painful tools to “train” these animals to perform confusing and physically uncomfortable stunts.

I ask the people of Fargo-Moorhead and surrounding areas to show the Shrine Circus that animal abuse is unacceptable and to boycott the circus. Buying tickets to the circus not only perpetuates the abuse of helpless animals, but also sends a terrible message to the children. Elephants and tigers are endangered worldwide, and we should teach our children to respect these animals, rather than saying it’s OK to train them to do absurd tricks.

Instead of going to the circus, parents should take their children to the park or to the Red River Zoo. They will have just as much fun doing these activities and parents won’t have to waste their hard-earned money.