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Letters: Ringling Bros.' side

December 02, 2012

Re "No more curtain calls for elephants," Editorial, Nov. 26

The L.A. City Council's proposed ban on elephants in traveling shows, which The Times supports, is really based on the rhetoric of animal rights activists who oppose all animals in captivity and in entertainment. At a recent City Council committee hearing, so-called experts who are known animal activists were allowed to provide extensive testimony, while veterinary experts from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey were given mere minutes to make public comments.

The proposed ban would deny more than 100,000 L.A. circus fans their choice to see these magnificent animals in a way they can experience nowhere else.

Our Asian elephants are ambassadors for their species in the wild, where they are highly endangered. Ringling Bros. employs a staff of expert veterinarians. The animal care staff at all our circuses and at the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation provide round-the-clock care for all our animals. There are multiple layers of government regulations to protect the welfare of animals, including those already in place in Los Angeles. In fact, Ringling Bros. was inspected by local and federal officials on five different occasions during the week our circus was in L.A. this summer.

We hope the City Council will see past the false rhetoric of the animal rights extremists and vote against this ban.

Stephen Payne

Vienna, Va.

The writer is vice president for corporate communications at Ringling Bros. parent company, Feld Entertainment.

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