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Responsible Care of Circus Animals

I would like to respond to the letter "Entertainment at Animals' Expense" (Aug. 22) regarding the recent death of a circus elephant in New Mexico. Although the elephant did not belong to us, we at Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey were saddened by the loss. It is also unfortunate that animal-rights activists are using the tragedy to promote the ideology of eliminating animal acts altogether.

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There is common ground on both sides of this issue, since we all share a strong interest in ensuring that performing animals receive the very best care possible. However, in the eagerness to attract attention to their cause, it is wrong for activists to stereotype all circus organizations and overlook the many professionals in our industry who have committed their lives to working with and caring for animals.

The animals in the Ringling Bros. community are surrounded by some of the most knowledgeable and dedicated animal-care professionals in the world. Our commitment is also reflected in our corporate policies and the tremendous monetary and staff resources dedicated to our animals. Each animal is provided with a lifetime of veterinary attention, nutritious meals, and a clean, safe home. They are stimulated by the exciting activity around them, have time for play and social interaction with other animals, and have the chance to use physical and mental skills every day.

Because of this superior care, our animals live healthier, safer, and longer lives than their counterparts in the wild. Judging from feedback we receive from our patrons, exotic animals continue to be a treasured part of the circus experience.

This type of dedication is not unique. There are many responsible members of the circus community who do not condone abuse. Exotic-animal ownership is also governed by comprehensive animal welfare laws and regulations. Ringling Bros. supports this type of regulation, and we believe that enforcement, along with the prosecution of careless or abusive animal professionals, is the key to preventing animal mistreatment.

We urge that attention be focused on promoting responsible animal ownership, rather than capitalizing on the unfortunate death of one animal to stereotype the entire industry.

Joan Galvin

Vienna, Va.

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Feld Entertainment, Inc.

Bike - don't drive - to work

I enjoyed Marilyn Gardner's column "Will the Love Affair with the Automobile Get Stalled in Traffic?" (Aug. 28). A lot can be done to reduce traffic congestion. Communities could become more bicycle-friendly and encourage biking to work. Buses could be equipped with bike racks; trains could be encouraged to take bicycles on. Localities could require developers of housing complexes to provide rush-hour transportation to train stations and bus terminals.

And, tax breaks could be given to corporations that provide flex time for employees. Flex-time hours reduce traffic congestion.

Paul Feiner

Greenburgh, N.Y.

Greenburgh Town Supervisor

Tough tune is an important symbol

Regarding the Home Forum article "Oh, Say Can You Sing the Words to That Song?" (Aug.26):

Oh, say, can you hear:

Such complaining out there

About a song that's too fierce,

Out-of-date and perplexing.

It's an anthem of old.

Generations have told:

Embattled, we stood

When our nation was struggling.

And the critics, upset,

Seek to help us forget

That nations are born

Of their tears, blood, and sweat.

Quit harping on this symbol

And realize your blessings

In the land of the free

And the home of the brave.

George Mazurak

Columbia, Mo.

Your letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Mail to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to

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