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HIGH-PROFILE GROUPS BACK PROPOSAL TO BAR CIRCUSES

HIGH-PROFILE GROUPS BACK PROPOSAL TO BAR CIRCUSES

Rocky Mountain News (CO) – Thursday, June 24, 2004
Author/Byline: Clayton Woullard, Rocky Mountain News
Edition: Final
Section: City Desk/Local
Page: 16A
The Humane Society of the United States and the Dumb Friends League officially endorsed a campaign Wednesday to keep animal circuses out of Denver.

Denver residents will vote Aug. 10 on Initiative 100, which would ban from Denver circus companies that use wild animals in their acts.

“Wild animals do not live well in human environments,” said Wayne Pacelle, chief executive of the Humane Society at a news conference Wednesday at the Denver City and County Building.

The initiative would not affect the Denver Zoo, Ocean Journey, the National Western Stock Show or other accredited zoos and sanctuaries.

Pacelle also awarded Heather Herman, 15, a certificate of appreciation for leading the campaign to put the initiative on the Denver ballot.

Herman, a sophomore at Arvada High School, began her effort two years ago. Herman and Denver for Cruelty-Free Circuses claim that circus companies like Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey should not be allowed to come to Denver because their animals, including elephants, are often abused and coerced to perform.

“These elephants do not engage in these behaviors because they’re fed a few peanuts,” said Jane Wisnieski, the campaign manager for the initiative.

Pancho Hays, co-chair for the Keep the Circus in Denver Campaign, said the claims of abuse are unfounded and that the initiative violates citizens’ right to choose.

“This is an event that’s good wholesome family entertainment” Hays said. “It just seems to be ‘nannyism’ that people want to tell me what to do with my entertainment dollars.”

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