Animal entertainment

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1995:

Known for wounding bulls rather
than killing them outright, then dragging
them about the ring before kneeling in front of
them preliminary to the final sword thrust,
Jesuslin de Ubrique, 20, is the latest star of
Spanish bullfighting. Pelted with bras and
panties by female admirers when he enters the
ring, de Ubrique says, “Having fought with
thousands of animals, I have learned that the
woman is the best of all. I love bullfighting,”
he adds, “but if I decided upon this profession,
it was only to make money.”
At deadline, pending authorization
from Congress, the Ringling Brothers
C i r c u s was booked to perform an 18-elephant
“Salute to Congress” outside the U.S. Capitol
on April 5, to which Speaker of the House
Newt Gingrich proposed to bus school children.
Friends of Animals, the Fund for Animals, and
the Washington Humane Society planned to
protest. Ringling has otherwise ceased holding
circus parades and other outdoor performances
––and even asks reporters not to disclose the
hour at which animals will be marched from
railway station to arena. Once held in mid-day
with great fanfare to drum up interest in the
show, the processions now take place at night.
Police in Chonburi province,
Thailand, on March 16 shot a circus elephant
who killed two handlers during a performance.
Fearing such an incident, the city of Bangkok,
60 miles west, on February 11 banned ele-
phants from the city streets. Thousands of for-
mer logging elephants, thrown out of their old
jobs by forest conservation measures imposed
in 1989, have been brought to Thai urban
areas, where they perform to earn their keep.
The Columbus, Ohio city council
on February 7 voted 7-0 to bar novelty animal
acts, exempting zoos, rodeos, horse shows,
and circuses. The object is to keep out
wrestling bears, boxing kangaroos, and diving
mules. The ordinance also increased the penal-
ty for cruelty from $750 to $1,000, and made it
a first rather than third-degree misdemeanor.
Guests of honor at the Genesis
A w a r d s presentation on March 12 included
wildlife biologist Gordon Haber and Weela, a
pit bull terrier. Hired by Friends of Animals to
monitor the wolf massacre authorized by for-
mer Alaskan governor Walter Hickel, Haber
in November took dramatic video of the deaths
of four snared wolves that led new governor
Tony Knowles to announce the killing would
be halted as his first act after inaugeration.
Weela, a trained rescue dog, “rescued 30 peo-
ple, 29 dogs, 13 horses, and one cat during
the floods that plagued southern California
during the winter of 1993,” according to the
Ark Trust, the awards sponsor. The awards
honor media for outstanding contributions to
awareness of animal issues. Winners this year
included Black Beauty (feature film); D r .
D o l i t t l e (film classic); T i m e magazine; the
ABC news program 20/20; and The Simpsons
TV show.
Questionaires received from 619 of
the 2,301 active members of Circus Fans of
A m e r i c a listed elephants and big cats as the
favorite circus acts among 40 possibilities.
Horses ranked ninth, exotic animals 12th,
domestic animals 14th, and elephant rides
23rd. Acts involving chimpanzees, bears,
and sea lions were barely mentioned. Ninety-
five percent of the respondents were males,
average age 62; just 6% were under 40.
Three dogs died in the mid-
February running of the 1,000-mile Yukon
Quest sled race, as seven of the 22 teams
dropped out. Two died of “sled dog myopa-
thy,” a genetic disorder; one suffered severe
internal injuries after being hit by a sled.
Doug Swingley, 41, of Simms,
Montana, on March 14 became the first non-
Alaskan to win the 1,161-mile Iditarod Trail
Sled Dog Race, in a record time of nine days,
two hours, and 22 minutes. Despite the loss
of $450,000 worth of national sponsorship,
the race––the first in which no dogs died––fea-
tured a record purse of $350,000, of which
Swingley got $52,000.
The American Humane Assoc-
i a t i o n has amended its guidelines for the use
of animals in TV and film productions to bar
sedation for non-medical reasons. In April
1994, a drug overdose killed a vulture who
was sedated to appear dead in the film In The
Army Now.
Greyhound racing
Cleveland car dealer Ed Mullinax
is reportedly trying to talk a city task force
into adding $20 million worth of accommoda-
tions for greyhound racing to the estimated
$100 million cost of bringing 63-year-old
Cleveland Stadium up to date for football.
A Massachusetts bill to ban dog
racing and dog racing simulcasts, introduced
by Rep. Shaun Kelly, is reportedly stuck in
the legislature’s joint committee on govern-
ment regulations. State residents may ask
that the bill, HB 899, be favorably reported
out, c/o representatives Steven Angelo and
Vincent Ciampa, and senators Michael
Creedon and Robert Travaglini, at the State
House, Boston, MA 02133.
Vermont senator Jean Ankeney
has introduced a bill to ban dog racing in that
state. The only dog track in Vermont, the ex-
horseracing circuit in Pownal, has been
closed since 1992, but could yet be reopened.
The Texas Greyhound Assn. o n
January 15 opened a $675,00 training and
research center near Lorena. About 300 dogs
at a time are to be trained there, in sessions
open to the public.
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