Saturday, February 20, 2010

....Runaway Zebra Spurs PETA To Ask USDA To Ban Circus Use....

By Frank James

The story of the zebra which briefly escaped Thursday in Atlanta from the Ringling Brothers and Barnam and Bailey Circus and tied up rush hour traffic till it was corralled has drawn a reaction from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

PETA is asking for the U.S. Agriculture Department which has regulatory responsibility for circus animals to launch an investigation. Peta notes that the circus has had other zebra escapes and asks that the USDA prohibit the animals from traveling and performing with the circus which.

Here's PETA's letter to the USDA:

Dear Dr. Gipson:
Please consider this letter an official request for the USDA to investigate the following concerns regarding Feld Entertainment, d/b/a "Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus" in Vienna, Va., license #52-C-0137.
According to a February 18, 2010, Associated Press report, a zebra with Ringling's red unit led police on a downtown chase that ended on highway connector Interstate 75-85 during the afternoon rush hour. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution article mentioned that the zebra escaped the control of his handler and was "spotted all over town." The zebra was reportedly "galloping between lanes of traffic on the Downtown Connector before his capture." Members of the public were put a risk by the escaped zebra and one bystander is quoted in the article stating, "all of a sudden a...zebra comes running down the street like a car."
The zebra apparently escpaed through a hole in the fence during a training exercise and was reportedly loose for 40 minutes. As you may recall, on June 18, 2007, March 3, 2008, and March 20, 2008, PETA sent concerns to the USDA regarding zebras on the red unit escaping the direct control of handlers.
PETA believes that Ringling is in violation of handling regulations, specifically Section 2.131 (b)(1), which requires animals to be handled "as expeditiously and carefully as possible in a manner that does not cause trauma, overheating, excessive cooling, behavioral stress, physical harm, or unnecessary discomfort" (emphasis added), and Section 2.131 (c)(1), which states that "any animal must be handled so there is minimal risk of harm to the animal and to the public, with sufficient distance and/or barriers between the animal and the general viewing public so as to assure the safety of animals and the public" (emphasis added).
Because of chronic problems with zebras escaping, PETA urges the USDA to immediately remove the zebras from travel and performances. Please also ensure that the zebra who ran loose in Atlanta, identified as 12-year-old Lima, is receiving adequate veterinary care for the cuts he sustained on his hooves and for any other injuries and that the safety of the animals and the public is protected.
Please advise me of the USDA's actions in this matter. I can be reached at xxx-xxx-xxxx or Thank you for your time.
RaeLeann Smith, Circus Specialist
cc: Elizabeth Goldentyer, regional director, Eastern Region
Robert Gibbens, regional director, Western Region