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Ringling Risking More Violations?

Written by Jennifer O'Connor | December 6, 2011
River Beach | cc by 2.0

On the heels of the record $270,000 penalty paid by Feld Entertainment—the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus—PETA is renewing our call for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to deny the company’s application to import eight tigers and a leopard in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The ESA prohibits importing endangered species except for “scientific purposes” or to benefit the survival of the species. It’s beyond a stretch for the circus to claim that it’s helping tigers by jamming them into tiny cages and whipping them into submission. Many of the violations that Ringling paid a penalty to settle involved big cats, including a tiger who suffered a laceration after her tail was slammed in a cage door and a lion who died of heat exhaustion in a sweltering boxcar while crossing the Mojave Desert.

The FWS has a duty to protect animals from harm and should not cave in to the demands of an influential corporation that just agreed to pay a huge fine for alleged violations of federal law.