The Star-Herald

Take a position on wild animal acts

To the editor:

The City of Presque Isle, surrounding communities, its business community and people, all would be appalled and up in arms against any entity practicing animal cruelty in their sight. However, not only do they apparently have no problem with those who practice animal cruelty and animal negligence in our community, but they actually request it, endorse it and promote it every year. Their justification: It’s for a good cause. I’m speaking, of course, of the annual Shrine Circus which incorporates wild animal acts.

Look, enough is enough. No longer can they plead ignorance that these large animals are cruelly abused in their training. Videos of this abuse, as well as tons of photos and text, are all over the internet. There is absolutely no way for these animals to be broken to perform on cue for people’s entertainment without extreme measures:  i.e. whipping, beating, being tied down, poked with bullhooks.

Experts tell us to achieve the desired result — to perform on cue — there is no other way to break these beautiful large animals. None. Zero. Zilch. Period. Yet every year ,the City of Presque Isle and loads of well-meaning businesses actually promote and endorse the circus which brings these cruel acts for our amusement. What are they thinking? Or perhaps they’re being willfully ignorant? Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

I’m calling on the City of P.I. and the business community to get together and educate themselves regarding the cruelty of these acts. Last year, Portland, Maine, made it illegal for these acts to go there. Bangor, Maine, has large protests against the circus and others who use these cruel acts, and is certain to pass similar laws.

Please, Presque Isle, surrounding communities and businesses, do not continue to turn a blind eye to these atrocities. The Shrine Circus needs to be a humane circus for a good cause. Tell the Shrine Circus they will only be welcome here when, and only if, they remove their wild animal acts. The circus hires these acts as independent contractors, and they only do so in communities who will allow them in their area.

The City of Portland stood tall and said “No” to animal cruelty. What will the City of Presque Isle do? Will we continue to endorse animal cruelty in our community. Will you as individuals continue to condone and support it?

Clare Kierstead
Presque Isle

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