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Alec Baldwin, PETA ask Americans to boycott circuses with animals

By Geoff Herbert, Syracuse.com

1261 days ago   Article ID# 1505050
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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK (Syracuse.com) - Alec Baldwin is throwing himself in the midst of controversy again -- this time on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

The "30 Rock" star appears in a new four-minute video on PETA's website asking Americans to boycott circuses over what he alleges is poor treatment of elephants.

"Having worked with actors for many years, it's hard to believe that anyone would have to be dragged kicking and screaming into show business," Baldwin says. "But for the elephants for Ringling Bros. and other circuses, that's exactly what happens."

The Emmy-winning actor refers to a 2009 multi-state investigation by PETA, which the New York Daily News says includes video footage of animal handlers beating elephants with metal-tipped bull hooks "just moments before they walked onstage."

Feld Entertainment, which owns Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, agreed to pay a $270,000 fine last November for allegedly violating the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). MSNBC reports Feld never admitted to wrongdoing, but did agree to pay the fine and develop animal handling training for employees.

PETA's video claims baby elephants are torn away from their families in the wild and violently trained with a bull hook in order to break their spirits and urge them to perform.

"Circuses deny animals everything that is natural and important to them," Baldwin pleads in the video. "Every basic instinct is met with punishment. As long as circuses continue to use elephants, these intelligent beings will continue to experience enormous suffering. Please, never attend a circus that uses animals."

Stephen Payne, a spokesman for Feld Entertainment, refuted PETA and Baldwin's claims in an editorial for the Baltimore Sun:

"All of our animals are trained using a system of repetition and reward. Elephants and horses are transported in custom-built, specially designed railway cars. As a result, the health and vitality of our animals is something we can showcase at each and every Ringling Bros. performance.

"We invite families everywhere to come and see for themselves how all the animals are thriving at 'The Greatest Show On Earth.'"

According to the New York Daily News, the drive to stop using wild animals in circuses has accelerated around the world. Britain has already banned the use of elephants and may also block tigers, zebras and camels as more celebrities, such as Jada Pinkett-Smith, Olivia Munn and Ashley Judd, have also spoken out against animal mistreatment.

"The Greatest Show on Earth" is currently on tour, performing in the greater New York City area this month and then scheduled to stop in Albany and Rochester later this year.

Copyright 2015 Syracuse.com   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 1261 days ago   Article ID# 1505050

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