Letter to the Editor

Humane fundraising

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dear Editor,

In response to the Optimist Club's letter in the Sept. 1 edition of the McCook Gazette, we are wondering if they checked any sources other than the Carson & Bames Circus website for information on this particular circus.

After a two-minute Internet search of this circus we found not only five pages of animal rights violations brought against them, but also a video showing Carson & Barnes' animal care director instructing their animal trainers to "hurt the elephants until they scream and run away, to forcefully strike the elephants with sharp metal bullhooks, and to sink bullhooks into the elephants' flesh and twist them until the animals scream in pain."

The footage also shows the handler using a blowtorch on an elephant's skin, as well as chained elephants and caged bears exhibiting signs of mental distress. In the video you are able to hear the elephants screaming and see them recoiling from the trainers in fear and pain. I ask you, how is this "upholding high standards of care in reference to their performing animals" as claimed in the Optimist Club's Letter?

This video can be seen on circuses.com by entering Carson &Barnes into their search engine.

Of course, if your only sources for information are directly associated with the circus you are going to receive positive information.

We also want to make it clear that this is NOT an attack on the Optimist Club or any of its members as we are aware of their good work in our community.

We would like to thank them for their efforts and the hard work they are doing. We believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and we are not trying to force others to change their beliefs. Our only goal is to educate the public to the horror suffered by the animals forced to perform in the circus for our "entertainment." Many organizations and communities have banned the use of animal acts in their fund raising events and have increased the money earned as they are no longer alienating entire groups of people who refuse to support these organizations because of the use of animals.

There are many other options available to earn money that don't support the exploitation of innocent animals that are forcefully taken from their natural environment and family units and forced to spend the remainder of their lives in small cages, trucks and boxcars being hauled across the country to perform tricks that are painful and confusing to them.

Other, more humane and animal free circus options can be found at http://circuses.com/pdfs/AnimalFreeFun

Please encourage the Optimist Club to discontinue the out-dated practice of using animal acts to fund the good work they do in our community. If you agree with our view please join us in gathering at the fairgrounds to express our views one hour before each of the circus acts on Monday, Sept. 6th.

The Optimist Club's article states that you can contact any member of the club to receive further information.

How are we supposed to do this when we don't know who the individual members are because they only sign "Optimist Club" to their letter. If they are not willing to identify themselves individually, it makes us doubt their confidence in their beliefs, which is why we have no trouble signing our individual names.

Whether you agree with our position or not, thank you for taking the time to read our view on this issue.

Sheila Eden,

Angie Burns,


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