Animals in entertainment

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July 1996:

Two circus-going children
were attacked by animals in Chile during
the first week of May. Rodrigo Silva, age
10, walked up to an elephant named Freda
on June 1. She slapped him to the ground
with her trunk, killing him. The elephant
reportedly remained agitated for hours. On
June 7, Stephanie Fuentealba, 3, was
severely mauled by a bear, who reached
through the bars of his cage to get her. In
between, a young male African lion
escaped from the Santiago zoo, but
prowled among the visitors without hurting

The Hawthorne Corporation
on May 20 agreed to pay the USDA a civil
penalty of $12,500 in settlement of charges
pertaining to the stampede of Tyke the elephant
in Honolulu, Hawaii, at a Circus
International performance on August 20,
1994. Injuring rookie trainer William
Beckwith, who apparently walked too
close behind him, Tyke then killed senior
trainer Allen Campbell as Campbell tried
to intervene, galloped out of the tent, and
was shot dead by police.
The USDA Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service on May 24
charged elephant trainer Bela Tabak, of
Myakka City, Florida, with violations of
the Animal Welfare Act allegedly committed
at a September 17, 1994 performance
of the King Royal Circus in Lebanon,
Oregon, during which alleged abusive use
of an ankus (“elephant hook”) was videotaped
by spectator Cathy Beemer. The
King Royal Circus in March of this year
agreed to pay a civil penalty of $8,000 in
connection with the same incident.
The British Columbia Shriners
pledged May 11 that future Shrine circuses
in B.C. will exclude animal acts. Most
Lower Peninsula municipalities have
recently banned animal acts, at urging of
the Vancouver Humane Society and other
activist groups.
April 13, 1996, marked the
landing of the first elephant in North
America since the passing of the last
m a s t o d o n s from 5,000 to 10,000 years
earlier. A two-year-old female imported
from Bengal by Jacob Crowinshield, 26-
year-old captain of the sailing ship
A m e r i c a, she reputedly drank prodigous
quantities of alcohol, perhaps introducing
the practice of soothing elephants with a
tub of beer, which persisted until
Prohibition. She was exhibited annually
from Salem, Massachusetts, to Savannah,
Georgia, until 1801, when records pertaining
to her peter out. At least one historian
believes she was still alive in 1806.
The Bombay High Court has
banned camel ride concessionaires from
Juhu Beach, city of Bombay, under the
1960 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act
and the 1951 Bombay Police Act, according
to Animal Citizen, the magazine of the
Animal Welfare Board of India.
Cockfighting is reportedly on
the rise in Ireland, where it is openly
practiced from Easter to July 31 each year
in the northern border counties. Therese
Cunningham of the Dublin SPCA believes
cockfighting has become a second attraction
for a class of tourist already coming
from Britain to bait badgers.
Jill Robinson, Asian representative
for the International Fund for
Animal Welfare, announced June 1 that
the Chinese Ministry of Forestry, under
IFAW pressure, has in turned pressured the
DJ Disco Club of Shenzen, China, to
retire a year-old declawed “dancing”
tiger to a safari park in
Harbin, near the Manchurian border––but
the safari park is also
under investigation for alleged
cruelty. Nonetheless, said
Robinson, “I think the ministry
deserves a pat on the back. They
are beginning to realize that this
sort of cruelty cannot be tolerated.”
The ministry has responded
to cruelty complaints three times
this year, she said.
The European Union assembly
voted 199-157 on May 24 to halt a subsidy
to bull breeders of up to $266 per bull
slaughtered, if the bulls are to be killed via
bullfighting or after use in bullfighting.
The subsidy is meant to support farm
Gambling that the end of
British rule over Hong Kong will permit
a resurgence of animal fighting, now suppressed,
and that bullfighting may appeal
more to television audiences and the
upwardly mobile than traditional cockfighting
and cricket-fighting, entrepreneurs
in Portugese-ruled Macao marked
the Chinese New Year in February with a
six-day series of Portugese-style bullfights,
featuring 26 imported bulls and 50 professional
bullfighters. “I’ve never seen anything
so disgusting in my life,” said Royal
SPCA observer Steven Lewis. Portugal in
1928 banned bull-killing for entertainment;
thus in Portugese-style bullfighting, the
bulls are tormented, much as in Spanishstyle
bullfighting, but are not dispatched
in the ring––though they usually are
slaughtered soon afterward. Portugeseborn
bullfighters Jesus Nunes and Joao
Placido, now stars in Spain, head a movement
to bring back killing, which could
succeed before 1999, when Portugueseruled
Macao, like British-ruled Hong
Kong, is to revert to Chinese rule. The
Macao fights followed attempts last year to
revive traditional Chinese bullfighting, in
which two bulls fight each other, in
Guangzhou. While Guangzhou is just over
the present border from Hong Kong,
Macao is an hour away by ferry.
Cristina Sanchez, 24, of
Spain, fighting in the ancient Roman
amphitheatre in Nimes, France, on May
27 became the first woman to achieve the
rank of matador in Europe. She is the
fourth female bullfighter of note in Europe,
following Juanita Cruz, who starred in the
1930s until females were banned from the
ring; Angela Hernandez, who overturned
the ban with a 1974 lawsuit; Maribel
Atienzar, whose career ended in 1987;
and Marie Sara Bourseiller of France, 30,
reputedly the only female rejoneadore, or
horseback bullfighter. The first female
matador was reputedly California actress
Bette Ford, who killed 400 bulls in
Mexico, 1953-1958, before turning to a
TV career. Her status was not internationally
recognized. The first female bullfighter
to achieve international recognition was
Raquel Martinez of San Diego, who won
her credentials in 1981 after a decade of
fighting in Tiajuana and Mexico City. The
most popular female bullfighter in Mexico
currently may be Aracelli Gonzelez, 21, a
n o v i l l e r a, or novice, whose performing
debut was as a c h a r r o rodeo competitor.
She turned to the bullring after becoming a
finalist in the 1990 Miss Junior Teen Los
Angeles pageant.
Opposing bullfighting in
France is the Federation de liasions anticorrida,
headed by Dr. J.C. Fajeau, at BP
16 – 34301 AGDE, Cedex, France.
Angel Heladio Aguirre, governor
of Guerrero state, Mexico, on April
4 cut a ribbon to inaugurate a new bullring––and
the grandstand collapsed,
killing two people, injuring 47. Four of
the builders were charged with criminal
Oklahoma governor Frank
Keating on May 20 signed into law a ban
on bear wrestling and horse-tripping,
authored by state senator Lewis Long Jr.,
of Glenpool.
Alligator wrestling went on as
scheduled at the 50th annual Hawaii state
fair, opening May 30. Refusing Animal
Rights Hawaii’s request that he intervene
to stop the performance, Hawaii governor
Ben Cayetano responded, “I wish people
would be more concerned about people
than animals. The next thing you know,
you won’t be able to jump a bull or rope a
cow or ride horses.”
Intervention by Friends of
Animals coincided with the spring rejection
by New York City Parks and
Recreation Commissioner Henry Stern of a
plan to build a rodeo arena on Staten
Island, and the cancellation of a bear
wrestling event in Derby, Connecticut.
The Las Vegas illusionists
Siegfried and Roy in May added a pair of
18-day-old white lion cubs to their act,
imported from South Africa, where they
were apparently prematurely separated
from their mother. The transaction followed
by six months the December sale of
a four-month-old orangutan to Hollywood
trainer Robert Dunn, of Sylmar, California,
by the Last Chance Farm in Miami,
Florida, over vigorous protest by the
International Primate Protection League.
The Gopher Hole Museum, in
Torrington, Alberta, a municipally funded
tourist trap, consists of 31 displays including
54 taxidermically mounted gophers
engaged in a portrait of local life, including
ridiculing animal rights activists,
whom mayor Harold Ehrman says should
“go stuff themselves.”
At request of Tommie Brunick,
animal control officer for Clatsop
County, Oregon, the Clatsop County Fair
will no longer hold greased pig contests.
“How do we tell our kids it’s not okay to
kick the family dog, but is okay to jump
on a baby pig for fun?” Brunick asked.
The Connecticut Gaming
Policy Board is reportedly reconsidering
an April decision to exempt Shoreline Star
greyhound track owner A. Robert Zeff
from a background check. Zeff, who was
subject of two high-profile legal malpractice
cases in Detroit during the 1980s, has
held a Connecticut license to run gambling
facilities since 1976.
“After two months in foster
c a r e , ” reports Debbie Leahy of Illinois
Action for Animals, “the six rabbits we
rescued from We’ll Clean Car Washes in
Chicago are enjoying safe haven at Farm
Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York.
The car washes have destroyed their rabbit
cages and returned their exhibitors license
application to the USDA.”
Belgian agriculture minister
Karel Pinxten announced May 31 that an
existing ban on racing horses through public
streets will be extended to ostrich and
camel racing.

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.