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    Animal Advocates Urge LB Council To Ban Performances With Wild & Exotic Animals, Charge Councilmembers Haven't Responded To Their Written Materials, Receive Stoney Council Silence

    (July 23, 2003) -- Tying their testimony to a two-day run by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus at the LB Convention Center Arena, animal advocates used the period for non-agendized items at the July 22 City Council meeting to urge that Councilmembers ban performances with wild and exotic animals in LB.

    Three speakers testified, including two from the CA Lobby for Animal Welfare who said no LB Councilmember responded to written materials provided to them. Councilmembers sat in stoney silence and said nothing in response.

    Huntington Beach prohibits performances of wild or exotic animals. Pasadena bans circuses, rodeos and other animals acts.

    We post excerpts of the speakers' LB Council testimony below:

    Priscilla Gargalis: ...I represent the California Lobby for Animal Welfare and I live in Riverside County...

    We understand that it takes a lot of courage for a city to stand up and take a stand against the use of animals in this manner because it is a controversial subject. But Huntington Beach did it. Pasadena did it. Five cities in California, and cities all over the country, have done it.

    Now my colleagues have submitted information to all of you, detailed information about this issue and have not received a single response from anyone.

    And we're here tonight to ask you to please take a serious look at this situation. It's not something you can continually ignore...

    Dr. Alison Stanley: ...I provided each you with a packet of information recently about the circus...With the packet was a cover letter asking that you contact me. Not one of you did.

    Mr. Colonna, I met with you personally. Following that meeting, I contacted your assistant. She told me that you had more important issues before you...

    ...Finally, you are ignoring an issue that is of great importance to many Long Beach residents.

    And finally, I'd like to ask that you bring forward a motion to adopt an ordinance in this city to ban the use of wild and exotic animals in entertainment.

    The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey web site includes a page titled: "Get the Answers. When You Hear Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Think 'Great Animal Care'". Among its questions and answers:

    Q: How does Ringling Bros. feel about local legislation banning the use of animal acts in some towns?

    A: We believe that these bans are unnecessary and take away a treasured part of the circus experience that patrons tell us they support and love. (Fortunately, such communities are the exception, not the rule.) By banning performing animals, the town is effectively saying that our experts are not fit to handle the animals they have devoted their lives to caring for. We can't say it enough: Ringling Bros. loves animals as much as you do!

    The Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey web site also includes a page titled: Animals Depend on Ringling Bros., And We Never Let Them Down". It lists the "Top Ten Cool Things We Do For Our Animals":

    1. Provide them with a safe and nurturing home.
    2. Ensure they get a nutritious diet.
    3. Groom them daily.
    4. Train them in ways that meet both their physical and mental needs.
    5. Give them complete medical care.
    6. Use innovative technology to improve overall health care.
    7. Keep them fit with exercise.
    8. Enrich their lives through performance.
    9. Speak up for the conservation and protection of all animals.
    10. Love them!

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