Elephants Stroll The City, Humane Officials Jog Along

Elephant.jpg
He'd really rather not dance in a costume, thanks.
Check out Todd C. Frankel's really terrific article in today's Post-Dispatch about an unusual alliance here in St. Louis between animal control and the ever-controversial PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The group, which advocates veganism, often comes under criticism for being publicity hounds and for exploiting sexy human bodies in its media stunts.

City animal control officers took a class paid for by PETA on observing circus elephants -- as well as tigers and zebras -- and looking for signs of abuse. The officers, who typically deal with much smaller and more common critters, are the first outside California to take the class. They're part of a new push by PETA to get more local oversight onto circuses.
Yesterday morning, the officers stood waiting with their new knowledge, alongside three PETA elephant experts, as the circus marched its performing elephants two miles from a train yard into the Scottrade Center. (That march is a pretty common, if visually astounding, way to move circus elephants into city venues.)

The circus didn't want to allow the PETA experts a closer look at the elephants: PETA is pretty straightforward about its vehement opposition to animal performances in circuses. It points out that animals are often mistreated, and say that the best and most exciting circuses these days (Cirque du Soleil, for instance) don't use animals at all.

Instead of the PETA veterinarian checking the pachyderms out, the circus agreed to allow one from the St. Louis Zoo to give the big animals the once-over.

One of the officers said in the story that he'd planned to take his kids to the circus, but won't after the PETA training.

Go check out the full story here. And maybe take the kids to an apple orchard or something instead of the circus this weekend.


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