To the editor:
I was disappointed to see that the Anah Temple Shrine Circus plans to go forward with cruel, dangerous elephant acts at a time when Shrines across the continent have begun to move toward animal-free circuses and other humane fundraisers (“Anah Temple plans 54th Shrine Circus,” 4/18).
The appalling records of elephant exhibitors featured in the Anah Temple Shrine Circus highlights the importance of LD 398, a bill being considered by the Maine legislature that would ban the use of elephants in traveling acts. The Anah Temple has partnered with Royal Hanneford, a notorious outfit that recently paid thousands of dollars to settle alleged Animal Welfare Act violations after three elephants escaped from a circus where they were being used to give children rides and ran amok for nearly an hour. The circus also featured abusive trainer Lance Ramos and his severely emaciated elephant Ned, who was subsequently confiscated from Ramos due to his condition. Photographs from the Anah Temple Shrine Circus even formed part of the enforcement action against Ramos, which ultimately resulted in the permanent revocation of his license to exhibit animals. Ramos also continued to exhibit an elephant even after she killed a woman by stomping her.
Abuse, neglect, and public endangerment are the rule, not the exception, when it comes to forcing elephants to perform in circuses, and it’s past time the Anah Temple Shrine Circus followed in the footsteps of other Shrines and opted for safer, more human fundraisers.
Delcianna J. Winders
Animal Law & Policy Fellow
Harvard Law School