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Sunday, October 24, 2010

PETA offers alternative for old circus arena
Mayor calls "Elephant Empathy Center" idea not serious
PETA suggests an arena that “used to force sad, lonely, beaten animals to perform” be “transformed into a tribute” to them.
By TERRY O'CONNOR Correspondent
Saturday, October 23, 2010
VENICE - PETA believes it has a better idea for the city's old circus arena than remaking it into a museum.
Officials from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have asked Venice Mayor Ed Martin to allow them to convert the building into an “Elephant Empathy Center” to evoke public sympathy for pachyderms. But Martin said PETA's proposal did not appear to have any real substance.
“I actually did not give that any serious thought,” Martin said. “I didn't see that as a serious offer, no.”
The Venice Circus Arts Foundation has been working for the past six months on plans to revamp the decrepit circus arena into a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus museum. It will continue its fundraising this weekend at a “Save the Venice Circus Arena” event Sunday at Centennial Park.
As an alternative to the foundation's plans, said Tracy Reiman, PETA executive vice president, a center should be built featuring interactive, educational displays, including one where visitors could volunteer to be chained and confined to a replica of a cramped, poorly ventilated box car to simulate how circus elephants often spend days at a time standing in their own waste while traveling between performances.
“With the Elephant Empathy Center, an arena that was once used to force sad, lonely, beaten elephants to perform will be transformed into a tribute to their intelligence, sensitivity and family values,” said Reiman in a letter to Martin. “Elephants are loving animals who never deserve to be beaten, shocked or shackled.”
Martin said he takes animal rights seriously, contributing to wildlife and nature groups.
“Not that I'm unsympathetic, but what would we have in addition, a chicken museum? A cow museum?” he said.
The Venice City Council agreed earlier this month to support the Venice Circus Arts Foundation's efforts to try to save the arena from demolition.
The foundation has outlined a business plan and is seeking contributions toward a $10 million renovation of the 5,100-seat arena.read more at:http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20101023/ARTICLE/101029900/2076/NEWS?Title=PETA-offers-alternative-for-old-circus-arena

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