Today the Loomis Bros. Circus began three days of shows in Crestview, in northwest Florida’s Okaloosa County.
The circus features an act during which an 8,000 pound, 40-year-old elephant named Okha is forced to stand with all four feet on a ball and balance in place. In a November 2 article in the Crestview News Bulletin, circus owner Justin Loomis stated, “Okha is the only elephant in North America that can walk on a ball.” The act is obviously unnatural, physically stressful, potentially dangerous, and is in clear violation of City of Crestview ordinances.
The City of Crestview Code of Ordinances (Sec. 10-19) states, in part:
“No person may sponsor, promote or train a wild animal to participate in, contribute to the involvement of a wild animal in, or attend as a spectator any activity or event in which any wild animal engages in unnatural behavior … or displayed in such a way that the animal is abused or stressed mentally or physically.”
In traveling circuses, virtually all of animal’s natural behaviors are thwarted. Elephants, tigers and other wild animals in circuses suffer from constant travel, abusive training and social isolation. There is nothing natural about a circus.
ARFF has contacted the City of Crestview and urged strict enforcement of the city ordinance to prevent elephants from being forced to perform cruel and unnatural tricks. We’ll let you know how the city responds.
The circus is sponsored by the Main Street Crestview Association. Please contact the association and politely ask that they reconsider their support of the circus.
Ellis Conner, President
Main Street Crestview Association
Phone: (850) 689-3722