Sentiment swelling against circus

James
James McLeod
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Animal rights issues leave many towns to consider banning show

The circus is coming to Newfoundland in June, but it will likely be for the last time in several communities, due to animal-rights issues.

Marystown passed a bylaw which will prevent the circus from coming back, but it won't take effect in time to stop the July 1 show.

The circus is coming to Newfoundland in June, but it will likely be for the last time in several communities, due to animal-rights issues.

Marystown passed a bylaw which will prevent the circus from coming back, but it won't take effect in time to stop the July 1 show.

Bonavista Mayor Betty Fitzgerald said she received calls from residents and the circus won't be allowed to perform again next year.

Because the show was already booked, if Bonavista had tried to stop them, they could have been sued.

"Where it was already confirmed, and where the stadium cannot afford to go through that kind of thing, they've got to allow it for this year," she said.

Similarly, the issue came up during a town council meeting in Gander, where Coun. Doug Foley introduced a motion May 19 to keep Cirque Estival out of the town.

The motion was defeated - also for fear of being sued - but Mayor Claude Elliott said it's something to look at before 2011.

Circus director Louis Leonard said he faces this sort of opposition frequently and gets frustrated by it.

"I love animals and the reason that I produce shows with animals is my love for animals," he said. "If I were such a bad business operator, do you think that I would not have been charged by the SPCA?"

In fact, the SPCA has expressed concern about Limba, the elephant which performs in the show.

According to a news release from the Nova Scotia SPCA, Limba attacked a trainer in 2002 in Winnipeg.

The SPCA has also promised to organize a protest at the circus performance in Springdale.

And Scott Saunders, a Nova Scotia animal-rights activist, said the constant moving and continual confinement are bad for the animal.

Saunders said elephants are social animals and being on her own is harmful for Limba.

"Cirque Estival continues to use these types of animals for pure profit only," he said.

"In my opinion they're greedy, and they are making money off the asses of these animals, and it's wrong."

This year Grand Falls-Windsor joined St. John's, Mount Pearl and several other municipalities when it turned down Cirque Estival's permit, essentially forbidding it from performing in town.

But Leonard said that's illegal, and if he challenged it in court, he would win.

"We are a duly incorporated company allowed to do legal business in Canada," he said. "A city that does not allow me to do business - in an aspect of business that is completely legal - then is doing me prejudice."

For at least one community in the province - New-Wes-Valley - the circus coming to town is a non-issue.

Mayor Grant Burry said he hasn't heard anything from residents positive or negative.

However, he doesn't plan on going himself.

"Myself personally, I've got some issues with it, but I don't want to go out and put my impressions on the public one way or the other," he said.

"I'm an animal lover; always was, always will be."

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Bonavista, Newfoundland, Marystown Gander Winnipeg Springdale Nova Scotia St. John's Mount Pearl Canada Wes-Valley

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Recent comments

  • Michael
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    I think it's wonderful that our population is waking up to this form of unnecessary abuse. Within 5 or so years, I'm confident there won't be an animal circus visiting NL.

  • Melanie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    I am totally against animals being used in the circus.............now that I have said that, we need to look at all the animal abuse in our own province..........record numbers according to the SPCA and the Horse and Pony sanctuary. It is absolutely disgusting!!! Our government needs to step up to the plate and do something about it!!

  • animal lover
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    i have to say that i have enjoyed the circus and so have my children who would never hurt any animal,i think those of you who are so against the circus should use your time trying to do something about the cruelty to animals in our own province we have had some of the most horrific cases of animal abuse reported right here so why not do something how can you critize the circus when we seem to tolerate the real cases of neglect and abuse

  • stripes
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    Persecute Every Type of Activity br careful who you make your bed with

  • Suzanne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    The circus director, Louis Leonard, states he loves animals and that's why he produces the show.....what a crock! How can you love animals, and at the same time, confine them to cages...it's worse than death! You don't have to hit an animal to abuse it! And some people think the seal hunt is inhumane....HAH! Mr. Leonard, it's time you got a conscience when it comes to this unnatural treatment of animals!

  • J
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    I love how the left thinking mayors and councils like to make people's decision for them. br br Let the circus go ahead and allow people to make their own mind up as to whether or not they will attend. br br Or are you afraid that people, your constituents will attend, against you wishes - can't have that now can we. br br I believe people like this are labelled control freaks. br br PETA - don't trust anything they say. br br http://www.petakillsanimals.com/

  • Julie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    For those of you who do not beleive that circuses treat animals with cruetly, just ask them to give up their elephant bullhooks and see how they respond. br br There is no comparison to the training of an elephant and the training of a dog because the elephants are beaten into submission as babies and then the bullhook is used as a continual threat of another beating. There is no shortage of evidence to this effect. br br Even Limba, the elephant used in this particular case was beaten by her owner when she acted out against a trainer while she was on loan to a zoo in Winnipeg a few years ago.

  • Heather
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Take a look at the Peta web site to see how elephants are trained'. Babies are ripped away from their mothers, then are chained in dark rooms for hours. To 'teach' these magnificant animals trainers beat them with iron hooks amongst other tortures - anything to break the elephants spirit. Circuses that use animals should be outlawed and until such time should be boycotted. br br And please - before anyone comments to bash Peta, it is referenced as access to the video that exposes the abuse.

  • Don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    I love ciruses and an opporunity to see animals that we don't normally get to see. I also don't like animal cruelty but feel that with all protests in recent years, the circuses are doing much better in their treatment of animals. I guess all the 'well to do people' can visit the zoos when they travel, but think about the little kids who don't travel and how they are when they see these exotic animals.

  • Richard
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    They are attempting to bring a stop to the only opportunity many will have in this decade and the next, to speculate the common event of circus. We must not allow this to continue. I call thee together for a perposial of protest. Must a legion of peta fueled hypocrites eliminate all that is good in the world? They claim that abuse is rampant and common in the world, but are they even aware of such things as the law? Ammendments have been in place yeilding these issues, not to mention that almost every institution is regularly monitored to control any fallacy of this nature.

  • Michael
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    I think it's wonderful that our population is waking up to this form of unnecessary abuse. Within 5 or so years, I'm confident there won't be an animal circus visiting NL.

  • Melanie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    I am totally against animals being used in the circus.............now that I have said that, we need to look at all the animal abuse in our own province..........record numbers according to the SPCA and the Horse and Pony sanctuary. It is absolutely disgusting!!! Our government needs to step up to the plate and do something about it!!

  • animal lover
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    i have to say that i have enjoyed the circus and so have my children who would never hurt any animal,i think those of you who are so against the circus should use your time trying to do something about the cruelty to animals in our own province we have had some of the most horrific cases of animal abuse reported right here so why not do something how can you critize the circus when we seem to tolerate the real cases of neglect and abuse

  • stripes
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    Persecute Every Type of Activity br careful who you make your bed with

  • Suzanne
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    The circus director, Louis Leonard, states he loves animals and that's why he produces the show.....what a crock! How can you love animals, and at the same time, confine them to cages...it's worse than death! You don't have to hit an animal to abuse it! And some people think the seal hunt is inhumane....HAH! Mr. Leonard, it's time you got a conscience when it comes to this unnatural treatment of animals!

  • J
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    I love how the left thinking mayors and councils like to make people's decision for them. br br Let the circus go ahead and allow people to make their own mind up as to whether or not they will attend. br br Or are you afraid that people, your constituents will attend, against you wishes - can't have that now can we. br br I believe people like this are labelled control freaks. br br PETA - don't trust anything they say. br br http://www.petakillsanimals.com/

  • Julie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    For those of you who do not beleive that circuses treat animals with cruetly, just ask them to give up their elephant bullhooks and see how they respond. br br There is no comparison to the training of an elephant and the training of a dog because the elephants are beaten into submission as babies and then the bullhook is used as a continual threat of another beating. There is no shortage of evidence to this effect. br br Even Limba, the elephant used in this particular case was beaten by her owner when she acted out against a trainer while she was on loan to a zoo in Winnipeg a few years ago.

  • Heather
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    Take a look at the Peta web site to see how elephants are trained'. Babies are ripped away from their mothers, then are chained in dark rooms for hours. To 'teach' these magnificant animals trainers beat them with iron hooks amongst other tortures - anything to break the elephants spirit. Circuses that use animals should be outlawed and until such time should be boycotted. br br And please - before anyone comments to bash Peta, it is referenced as access to the video that exposes the abuse.

  • Don
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    I love ciruses and an opporunity to see animals that we don't normally get to see. I also don't like animal cruelty but feel that with all protests in recent years, the circuses are doing much better in their treatment of animals. I guess all the 'well to do people' can visit the zoos when they travel, but think about the little kids who don't travel and how they are when they see these exotic animals.

  • Richard
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    They are attempting to bring a stop to the only opportunity many will have in this decade and the next, to speculate the common event of circus. We must not allow this to continue. I call thee together for a perposial of protest. Must a legion of peta fueled hypocrites eliminate all that is good in the world? They claim that abuse is rampant and common in the world, but are they even aware of such things as the law? Ammendments have been in place yeilding these issues, not to mention that almost every institution is regularly monitored to control any fallacy of this nature.