Do You Want the Circus to Come Back to Greenport?

Readers react negatively to the Cole Bros. Circus coming to the village this week.

After a was posted on North Fork Patch, several readers commented on how they thought the circus promoted the abuse of animals, some citing recent violations for animal cruelty issued against Cole Bros.

Last summer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture filed charges against the Cole Bros. Circus in regards to the safety and psychological state of two elephants, Tina and Jewell, after members of animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed complaints with the USDA. The charges alleged that the circus failed to provide adequate veterinary care to a malnourished elephant, employed handlers who lacked training and repeatedly hit the elephants with an ankus, or elephant hook, during rides and performances.

And, according to a report from the Sag Harbor Express, protestors made their anti-circus views heard when the Cole Bros. set up at the Shinnecock Reservation this week.sponsors the annual North Fork visit from the circus, but a fire department official was not immediately available to comment.

Here are some of the remarks from readers this week regarding the circus. Feel free to chime in the boxes below. 


“I wish a circus that didn't involve animals (except perhaps dogs, that enjoy performing) was here instead. It is so sad for the elephants especially.” — 

“Abuse is NOT entertainment- but it seem as it is to some.............. poor baby elephants!!! Baby Hugo- only a little over a year old and Vals baby brother.... is the newest addition to Cole Brothers - and touted as the youngest performing elephant. Performing means TRAINING!! And you MUST see how these animals are trained. It is NOT through kindness. So so sad! I hope people watch the video above and realize what is going on. I wonder why the people of Greenport allows this in their community???” — 

"This is horrible that this website is promoting animal torture to give 20 minutes of "cute" tricks to the kids. They should see the abuse and horrible mistreatment of these intelligent animals. This is the slave trade of the animal world and we are allowing it but acting as if nothing is wrong. This publication should be ashamed of itself fro not promoting the truth. This circus has received numerous violations for animal cruelty. Nice going Patch!" — 

PEGGY TONER July 28, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Circus life IS NOT fun for the animals. The so called "training" that most of them endure is inhumane and unnatural. The youngest elephant performer has had to endure the same torture as the older elephants - chains, bull hooks and confinement. It is a very sad existance for these creatures. Fire department can and should consider other types of fund raising. PegT
Kevin Foster July 28, 2012 at 03:43 AM
1) PETA has called keeping pet dogs and cats unnatural cruelty as well, and yet has killed pets given to them to find new adoptive people and dumped them in dumpsters. So don't trust PETA statements unless they can be verified to be correct and recent. 2) Animal training uses selected existing animal behaviors to build on - that is what you see in a circus, or at a riding stable, or in a dog obedience class. 3) Picking out the people who travel for a living as socially undesirable is an ancient practice. That is a form of prejudice against people not of your immediate community. Don't accept statements about those hard working folk sharing their love of their animal partners unless you have the experience to recognize unacceptable behavior yourself. Kevin F
Cj Ellie July 28, 2012 at 10:26 AM
The circus industry cannot be trusted to tell the truth as they have all willfully violated laws again and again and then lie about it. By any definition circuses are habitual offenders of the Animal Welfare Act. The USDA has documented these violations and fines for the circus industry for decades. You can see a pattern of neglect and abuse of the wild animal performers year after year. But because no one from the circus has ever gone to jail for mistreating these animals, the circus knows the drill, pay the fine and write it off as the cost of doing business. Look at the number of adults at Penn State and Second Mile Charity who overlooked child abuse for decades to protect their lucrative fund raising event so what does the fire department have to lose for overlooking the physical and mental abuse of circus animals to raise funds.
forward thinking July 28, 2012 at 11:06 AM
get a grip - there is more abuse at "local" homes of animals than all the circus' in the world. i do not hear from this contingent on that subject . no protests in town etc... all you have to do is go to a shelter and adopt an animal - i have several times . have you ? ... human beings had to bolster their egos by bending animals (lessers) to their will. we all "abuse" animals - is it natural to shake a can of coins - to stop a cat from clawing. of smack a newspaper when a dog / cat performs a natural body function. finally how many of these circus animals would be on our trophy walls....
Erin Schultz (Editor) July 28, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Paula DiDonato said on Facebook: "NO. It is abusive and very sad and it would be better to have our local farmers create a fair of some sort where the humane treatment of animals was featured."
Erin Schultz (Editor) July 28, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Michele Jensen said on Facebook: "I didnt think the way they treated the tigers was nice at all poor things"
Erin Schultz (Editor) July 28, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Carlos X DeJesus said on Facebook: "I didn't see the performance, but was it the usual, traditional stuff circuses do. If so I don't see why not."
Erin Schultz (Editor) July 28, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Cara Roner said on Faceboook: "Hell NO!! They are mean to those poor animals. Not sure how they are still in business!! My kids wont ever go to the circus. I wouldnt give them a pennie of our money."
Cj Ellie July 28, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Once upon a time slavery, child labor, racism, and beating your spouse was OK, now we know that it was not OK, just like it is not OK to continue to ignore this animal abuse just because the circus has been entertains us for decades under the disguise of offering wholesome family entertainment. All the while keeping these barbaric training methods hidden from the public. It is not OK to beat, hook, jab, and shock any animal to make them perform for money. The circus doesn't shake a can of coins or smack them with a newspaper, they use brute force and cruelty. All my animals have come from shelters. And if you sincerely believed that animals should be treated humanely you would NEVER attend a circus to begin with, much less condone them.
GLENN July 28, 2012 at 09:09 PM
They should ban the use of animals in the circus . They don't look like they take very good care of themselves, how can they care for the animals. It is so cruel....
Ditty51 July 29, 2012 at 02:36 AM
I wrote to the Greenport FD one year asking them to please consider another way to raise money. But my letter was ignored and they continue to make money on the backs of these poor animals.
Pgpt July 29, 2012 at 12:46 PM
The animals are taken from their homes, put in cages, transported endlessly from place to place in less than ideal conditions, endure "training" and deprivation from contact with others of their kind, and we call it entertainment. The circus's only goal is to make to as much money as possible. The animals are only treated even as well as they are because they have to look good for the paying customers. Many people that work with animals do care about them, but many more do not.
Cj Ellie July 29, 2012 at 01:44 PM
There is a bill in congress that will ban the use of exotic wild animals in circuses, it is H.R. bill 3359 the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (TEAPA). Make sure you call and write your House of Representative and ask them to pass this bill. This bill contains publicly available research and video and photographic evidence, it is clear that traveling circuses cannot provide the proper living conditions for these exotic animals. http://federalcircusbill.org/index.php
Meryl Greenbaum July 29, 2012 at 03:07 PM
I would only go to a circus that featured stunts and feats by humans who are making the decision to perform. I do not condone animals performing in circuses nor would I support it by buying a ticket.
Erin Schultz (Editor) July 29, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Peggy O'Hanlon Toner said on Facebook: "Circus IS NOT fun for the animals. The "so called" training should be labeled ABUSE, it is inhumane and unnatural. There are many other ways to raise funds. It shouldn't be at the expense of the helpless animals"
DianneT July 29, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Elephants in circus' are trained to do the stupid tricks thru dominence and abuse. Baby elephants should stay with their mommies for life, but circus elephants are dragged away screaming from their crying mothers to be hog tied and beaten until their spirits are broken and they "behave" and do tricks. They spend hours on end chained in trailers traveling from show to show. For 15 minutes of entertainment they suffer 23 and a half hours. If the sponsors of these shows think otherwise they are delusional, ignoring the welfare of these majestic animals to make a buck. Shameful indeed!
forward thinking July 29, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Frank L July 30, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Circus animals are the most inspected, looked after animals in the world!! Just as some people shpould NOT have animals, some people should NOT have children but we do not outlaw everyone having children...find a better cause that helps humans or animals that are truly in need!
Cj Ellie July 30, 2012 at 05:32 PM
If you beat children or animals then you should not be allowed to have either one. The circus industry clearly uses violence to control their wild animals. The USDA/APHIS has a total of 104 Inspectors who are responsible for inspecting over 6000 animal licenses a year. Do the math it is easy to see that the circus industry isn’t inspected enough. Once upon a time slavery, child labor, racism, and beating your spouse was OK, now we know that it was not OK, just like it is not OK to continue to ignore this animal abuse.
cyn f August 02, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Exotic animals should be left in the wild. Period. Animals should not be used as entertainment for humans. If you want to see elephants and tigers go on safari on Africa. Just like humans should not be used against their will neither should creatures that inhabit the earth with us.
J.Giordano August 06, 2012 at 03:20 PM
We would love to have the circus back in Greenport. We have been going for years and totally enjoyed the show. We have been able to walk the show grounds freely and observed the animals up close. During our many visits observations have turned up no animal abuse. In fact we have watched as the animals have been fed, watered, and groomed. We are confident the animals receive 24/7 care. They have all they need and more.
Cj Ellie August 06, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Cole Bros Circus has a long and documented USDA record for lack of humane care of their animal performers. When you saw the elephants swaying their bodies and trunk in a rhythmic manner they were not dancing. When you saw the tigers pacing in the small cages they live in, this is abnormal behavior never seen in animals in the wild. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tw7UtgajIOM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAzDurdkDYA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoTG-4wQ5uc In March 2012 the USDA filed formal charges against Cole Bros Circus for these violations: • Failure to provide adequate veterinary care to an underweight elephant with a prominent spine and sunken body image • Failure to have records for vet exams and tuberculosis tests • Failure to handle an elephant in a way that minimizes the risk of harm to the public and the elephant • Failure to employ personnel capable of caring for elephants • Failure to house elephants at a facility that could provide for their needs • Failure to follow recommendations of an elephant specialist—a willful violation • Failure to store medications properly • Transporting elephants to another person who was not equipped to care for them against the recommendation of an elephant specialist • Inadequate enclosures • Handlers who lacked training and knowledge and weren't regularly on site


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