Prior to Ringling Brother’s last visit to Asheville, the Mountain Xpress did a great job calling attention to the controversy behind the Big Top with your feature article “The Elephant in the Room” [May 31, 2006]. I hope this time around you will spend less time reporting on opinions—both from those who enrich themselves from animal slavery and those of unpaid activists like myself. Instead, I encourage you to take a look at the voluminous data (USDA inspection reports, number of animals that have died due to neglect and abuse etc.) and video footage showing the egregious cruelties and indignities routinely inflicted upon these helpless animals. Much documentation can be found at www.circuses.com.
The facts show what common sense already tells us: Animals perform stupid tricks because they are terrified of further beatings. According to Ringling Bros. founder Henry Ringling North in his book, The Circus Kings, tigers and lions are “chained to their pedestals, and ropes are put around their necks to choke them down. … They work from fear.”
— Stewart David