November 3rd, 2011 by admin
The Cole Bros. Circus has performed in the City of Margate since 2009. Each year, the circus has been sponsored by the Margate Chamber of Commerce and the big top raised on land owned by the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency. This year the circus has shows scheduled for November 10-13 in Margate.
At last night’s meeting of the Margate City Commission, several dozen people filled the commission chambers to urge the city to reconsider its support of the circus. ARFF’s Communications Director Don Anthony was the first to speak. He challenged commissioners to do the right thing and adopt regulations to protect elephants and other wild animals who suffer in traveling circuses. Don reassured the commission that if they did act, they would not be alone. Several cities in South Florida, including Hollywood, Lauderdale Lakes and Pompano Beach already have ordinances in place that keep circuses out of the city. The next speaker showed a disturbing video of trainer Tim Frisco beating elephants with bullhooks
and shocking them with electric prods (Frisco traveled with the Cole Bros. Circus in 2010). Another speaker read through the long list of incidents in which Cole Bros. was found to be in violation of federal laws intended to protect animals. Other speakers spoke about the limited ability of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to properly inspect traveling circuses, the threat to public safety from performing elephants, the amazing social lives of elephants, and the many successful non-animal circuses. The testimony was emotional and impassioned.
Then it was the commissioners turn to comment. Commissioner Frank Talerico suggested, and Commissioner Joseph Varsallone agreed, that the city should sit down with the chamber of commerce to let them know that it may not be in their interest to sponsor a circus next year. (Commissioner Varsallone complimented the speakers, “God bless you. Your enthusiasm was great.”) Commissioner Lesa Peerman told the audience that she was also convinced of the need for the city to do something: “This is easy. We got it.” Vice Mayor David McLean asked to inspect a bullhook that ARFF had brought to the meeting, and he passed it to the other commissioners. Mayor Pam Donovan was the last to comment. She instructed the city attorney to draft an ordinance to ban the use of electric prods, bullhooks or similar devices by circuses. The motion was adopted unanimously, and the commission received a standing ovation from the audience!
A bullhook ban would effectively ban the circus, since circuses will not give up the cruel weapon (bullhooks are commonly used by circuses to control elephants through painful physical punishment and the threat of it). But it’s not official yet!
Please contact the City of Margate, especially if you live or work in the city, and thank them for their compassionate stand against circus cruelty. Urge them to support a ban on bullhooks when it comes before them for a vote.
City of Margate
5790 Margate Boulevard
Margate, FL 33063
Mayor Pam Donovan - firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice Mayor David McLean - email@example.com
Commissioner Joseph Varsallone - firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner Frank Talerico - email@example.com
Commissioner Lesa Peerman - firstname.lastname@example.org