PETA Protests Royal Hanneford Circus at County
Animal-rights activists came armed with signs to warn circus-goers of what they say are animal abuses.
By T.J. Raphael, February 19, 2011
The Royal Hanneford Circus came to White Plains Saturday, complete with horses, elephants and animal rights protesters. The small group of protesters carried signs and handed out literature about the mistreatment of circus animals to people entering the Westchester County Center to see the performance.
“We’d like to say bring the circus, leave the animals,” said Louise Simmons of Harrison, a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals'. “We have nothing against circuses per say, what we’re against is the use of wild and exotic animals.”
PETA details several specific abuse claims against Hanneford and says the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has "cited Royal Hanneford numerous times for failure to provide veterinary care and meet minimum space requirements."read
One PETA advocate said wild animals like tigers, bears and elephants can pose a danger to viewers and trainers, using as an example Roy Horn, of Siegfried and Roy, who was attacked in 2004 by his long-time pet tiger that performed with him.
The group also says circus trainers abuse the animals to get them to learn tricks.
“If their kids could see what went on behind the scenes at the circus they would have to be dragged kicking and screaming [to go] under the big top,” said Ashley Byrne, a senior campaign coordinator for PETA. “Animals are abused in ways like having bull hooks into the flesh of elephants, baby elephants are torn from their mothers at birth and the mothers are forced to give birth in chains.”
The Royal Hanneford Circus could not be reached for comment. A representative of the Westchester County Center viewing the protest declined to comment.
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