Group Declares That Citrus County's Ban on Animal-Torture Tools Means That Animals Must Not Be Forced to Perform
For Immediate Release:
September 13, 2018
David Perle 202-483-7382
Citrus County, Fla. – Citing Citrus County’s ban on the use of prods, sticks, electrical shocks, and physical force to make animals perform, PETA sent a letter today urging the Citrus County Fair Association not to be complicit in violating the law and to require that Loomis Bros. Circus—which is slated to perform at the fairgrounds on Sunday—put on a show without wild animals.
In the letter, PETA notes that the circus is planning to perform with elephant and tiger acts supplied by the notorious Franzen Bros. Circus in defiance of the ban. Brian Franzen has been convicted of cruelty to animals and has been caught on video striking an elephant with a bullhook and repeatedly whipping a tiger. And just last week, he forced an elephant to perform in Brooksville in dangerously deep mud, nearly causing her to become stuck on her side during one trick.
“The Citrus County Fair Association must not allow a circus to flout laws designed to prevent cruelty to animals,” says PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “PETA urges Citrus County residents to steer clear of this cruel outfit and all other animal-exploiting operations.”
PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA’s letter to Citrus County Fair Association Vice President Paul McPherson follows.
September 13, 2018
Citrus County Fair Association
Dear Mr. McPherson,
I’m writing on behalf of PETA and its more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, including more than 3,100 in Citrus County, regarding your plans to host elephant and tiger acts in the Loomis Bros. Circus in defiance of local law, which strictly prohibits making any animal “perform by means of prod, stick, electrical shock, chemical or physical force.” Citrus County, Florida Code § 14-56(4); see also Code of Ordinances, City of Inverness, Florida § 5-1 (“Citrus County Animal Services Ordinance of 2004, Chapter 14, Article II, Citrus County Code, is hereby adopted by reference in its entirety, and as such may be amended from time to time.”).
Because Loomis Bros.’ animal trainers rely on prohibited weapons to force elephants and tigers to perform—including sticks and sharp prods called bullhooks—it is impossible for the circus to lawfully exhibit these animals. Loomis Bros.’ animal acts are provided by the Franzen Bros. Circus, which has a well-documented history of cruelty. Federal regulators disciplined the exhibitor when a trainer was caught striking an elephant in the face with a bullhook, and Brian Franzen has been convicted of cruelty to animals. He’s been filmed striking an elephant in the jaw with a bullhook onstage, jabbing an elephant with a prod during rides, and whipping and jabbing a tiger in the face. Just last week in Brooksville, Franzen even forced an elephant to perform in dangerously deep mud, nearly causing her to get stuck on her side during one trick.
The handling practices of Loomis Bros. and its trainers clearly violate the letter and spirit of the law, and allowing the circus to perform with elephants and tigers would make your venue complicit. I strongly urge you to rethink your plans to host the elephant and tiger acts. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Very truly yours,
Rachel Mathews, Esq.
Deputy Director | Captive Animal Law Enforcement