LETTER: Voter Asks Residents To Support Prohibiting Wild Animals In Circuses (Article 65) At Town Meeting

Dear Editor,

As a member of the Town of Wilmington Finance Committee who heard the testimony from proponents, and as a staffer in the office of Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, lead sponsor of the proposed statewide Circus Bill, I humbly urge my fellow Wilmington residents to support the proposed Circus Ordinance (Article 65) at town meeting on June 27th.

We should join the more than 160 U.S. municipalities, 11 of which are in Massachusetts, that have prohibited the use of wild species such as elephants, tigers, lions, and bears in circuses and other traveling shows. This trend is responding to the public’s increasing distaste for this cruel and outdated form of entertainment as well as the serious public safety concerns.

Wild animals don’t perform confusing and often physically difficult circus tricks because they want to—they perform because they’re afraid not to. Elephants don’t willingly stand on their heads, bears have no interest in riding bicycles, and tigers would normally avoid jumping through rings of fire. Trainers use bullhooks – which resemble fireplace pokers – to strike, hook, and jab elephants. Big cats and bears are trained and handled with whips, sticks and electric prods. A quick internet search will provide abundant and indisputable evidence – from undercover investigations, government documents, and whistleblower reports – that the suffering animals endure in circuses is the rule, not the exception.

I hope the kind people of Wilmington will attend the town meeting on June 27 and vote to enact the proposed ordinance to do away with these inhumane and unsafe shows.

Sincerely,

Hirak Shah
Concord Street, Wilmington

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