Animal activists target local circus performance

In Defense of Animals kicks off Week of Action

By DEZRI ROCHIN/Montana State News

March 20 kicks off the Week of Action to help save animals from what activists regard as the misery of circus life. The group In Defense of Animals started the campaign to raise awareness and support for H.R. 3359, a bill which calls for an end to the cruel treatment of exotic animals in traveling circuses.

Animals used in circuses are cruelly trained, chained and intensively confined and forced to travel and perform, according to the group.

Denied all that is natural to them, they suffer physically and psychologically and often develop abnormal behaviors such as repetitive rocking, swaying and pacing,  according to the IDA website.

“Internal Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus documents show that elephants used by the circus are chained for up to 100 hours straight (and an average of 26 consecutive hours per trip) while traveling between cities,” says  Heather Drennan, spokesperson for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

George Hanneford, the ringleader for The Jordan World Circus, which recently performed locally with three elephants and two tigers, is used to the controversy. He was involved in an accident in 1990 where an elephant fell and crushed his good friend.

The activists were all over the Jordan performance. Hanneford prides himself in his treatment of his “pets.”

“They’re [the activists] professional mudslingers,” he says. “I’m with the animals. That’s what I do 24 hours a day,” said Hanneford.

The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act amends the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit an exhibitor from allowing for the participation of an exotic or wild animal in an animal act if, during the 15-day period preceding such participation, such animal was traveling in a mobile housing facility…[ 2]

The bill is basically trying to prevent the animals from being cooped up for hours, if not days on end, to ensure their well being.

The Montana Legislature  has yet to support the bill. Calls to Montana U.S. Sen. Max Baucus’s office were not immediately returned.

To visit the site and sign the petition visit:

To contact your U.S. House representative call: (202) 224-3121 and ask for your representative’s office.

Edited by Randi Tyler


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