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May 24, 2004 | From Times Wire Reports
A circus performer who fell 30 feet onto a concrete floor during a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus show in St. Paul died of her injuries. Dessi Espana, 32, was twirling on long chiffon scarves when the silky cloth gave way during Saturday's performance, witnesses said. "We are starting an investigation into the death," Police Sgt. Rick Klein said. "We don't suspect foul play, but we will be trying to collect the rope or [part] that broke."
The judge is an octopus, the lawyer is--what else--a shark, and a killer whale sings the blues because the groupers laugh at his tutu. These eccentrics are part of San Francisco's 21-year-old, one-ring Make-A-Circus, touring Southland parks with its crowd-pleasing, kid-friendly combination of offbeat comedy theater, circus stunts, audience involvement and live jazz.
August 7, 1999
Howard Rosenberg hit the nail on the head when he said that that the animal-free Cirque du Soleil is superior to elephant-exploiting traditional three-ring circuses ("No Lions, Tigers or Bears? Cirque Soars With Just People," July 30). The description of the elephants' subjugation during performances broke my heart--anyone who sees a circus knows that elephants are forced to contort themselves into degrading positions that are completely unnatural. What goes on behind the scenes is tragic too. The elephants spend more than 90% of their time chained by the ankle.
July 11, 1995 | FRANK MANNING
A circus that opened Monday in Agoura Hills has drawn fire from animal-rights activists, who claim that the animals in the show are mistreated. Santa Monica-based Animal Emancipation Inc. said it plans to picket several performances of Circus Vargas' four-day run. The circus stopped using exotic animals last September for the rest of the season, but resumed the practice this year.
The circus trainer donned a costume of sequins and red velvet, while assistants made sure his prancing horses and mighty elephants had on their plumed headdresses and multicolored capes. "The Greatest Show on Earth" was back in town. But this centuries-old tradition, which relies on the ageless appeal of performing animals, has run headlong into a 20th-Century phenomenon: animal activism. As crowds streamed into the Los Angeles Sports Arena last week for the opening of Ringling Bros.
October 22, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
As human understanding of elephants has evolved, so has our treatment of them. Zoos decades ago freed these largest of land mammals from standing for hours in chains on arthritis-inducing concrete. Also gone from many zoos is the bullhook, an instrument that resembles a fireplace poker that is used to poke, prod or strike an elephant. Although the blunt end can be used as a lead for an elephant, the sharp end makes it a tool of coercion. The Los Angeles Zoo stopped using the bullhook in any manner in 2010.
August 22, 1994 | from Associated Press
A rampaging circus elephant killed a trainer and injured a groom before she was shot down in the street. The 21-year-old African elephant named Tyke went berserk just before she was to perform with four other elephants in Saturday's matinee. Tyke picked up William Beckwith, a groom, and threw him down, then tried to stomp his head. A trainer, identified by a circus official as Allen Campbell, 37, was crushed by the animal as he tried to help Beckwith. A dozen people were injured as they fled.
December 30, 2000 | Reuters
An escaped tiger stopped rush-hour traffic on one of Germany's busiest highways for more than two hours before he was recaptured, police said Friday. Sahib, a young tiger weighing 330 pounds, ran away from a nearby circus and was spotted Thursday by passing motorists as he padded along the hard shoulder of the A66 highway in Wiesbaden. "We got one call and didn't believe it, but then we were inundated by calls. We had no option but to close the highway.
January 14, 1994 | From Associated Press
A train carrying circus performers and animals derailed Thursday at a crossing, killing two people and injuring 14 others, authorities said. Sixteen cars jumped the tracks shortly after 9 a.m. as the 53-car train traveled across Florida from St. Petersburg to Orlando, where the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus was to open tonight. "The show always goes on. I suspect we will be late, but the show always goes on," said David Cohen, the circus manager and a passenger on the train.
August 2, 1995 | RUSS LOAR
Seventeen elephants will be walking through the streets of Anaheim this afternoon with the scheduled arrival of the 52-car Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus train. The elephants, along with other assorted circus animals including camels, llamas and miniature horses, will make a two-mile trip to The Pond of Anaheim where the "Greatest Show on Earth" runs Aug. 3 through Aug. 13. "The tigers, we don't walk," Ringling Bros. spokeswoman Maggie Prado said.
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