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Mexico's circuses caught up in animal rights spat


MEXICO CITY (AP) - Mexico's "circus wars" are heating up, with a growing movement to ban circus animals meeting rising anger from circus workers.

There have been messages posted on social networking sites urging people to attack circuses, Armando Cedeno, the head of the nation's circus owners association, said at a demonstration by circus performers Tuesday.

"We have a lot of threats on Facebook, with environmentalists urging people to go burn down circuses, which is very worrisome," Cedeno said as he oversaw a protest in Mexico City's main square at which circus entertainers put on a free show with horses and dogs - the only animals they will be allowed to use under a new city law banning acts with lions, tigers, elephants and other "wild" animals.

Aguascalientes state legislator Gilberto Gutierrez, a member of Mexico's Green party, said violence has already been inflicted by the circus side. He said security guards beat him and other animal rights activists in front of a circus in his state in late June.

"They broke two of my teeth ... it was a direct hit," Gutierrez said. "It was an attack by the circus people, by the security guards they employ."

The circus claimed the animal activists were blocking the entrance to the circus in Aguascalientes, where it is still legal to perform with exotic animals. Insults flew first, then fists and belts, the circus said.

Gutierrez acknowledged the demonstrators were posted in a narrow, four-foot strip of sidewalk at the entrance, but he insisted nobody was prevented from entering. At least two security personnel were detained in the case.

There have been mutual accusations of illegal acts, including a giraffe set loose to gallop through a suburb of the northern city of Monterrey. Video posted on social media sites showed surprised motorists making quick maneuvers to avoid the galloping giraffe outside the circus grounds, and the Barley Circus accused animal rights activists of opening the pen so the giraffe could escape.

Barley Circus spokesman Isaac Vertiz said: "The giraffe is always let outside in the morning, and the keeper went back inside for a moment to get food" for the giraffe. "In the meantime, within five minutes, somebody went in and opened the pen and let her out."

Vertiz said someone also spray-painted circus trailers and tried to break into circus vehicles. He said he suspects animal rights activists but conceded he has no proof.

Gutierrez denied animal activists have broken the law. "We will take this issue to its final consequences, without breaking the law," he said.

Animal rights activists say they are fighting the kind of abuses that came to light in March when environmental inspectors raided a small, provincial circus in the southern state of Yucatan and seized a black bear that had its lower jaw and upper teeth largely ripped out or cut off, apparently to keep it from biting.

On the other side, circus people say they are closely regulated and inspected, and they feel the Mexico City ban passed in June unfairly singles them out.

Mexico City and six of Mexico's 32 states have now banned circus animals. The circus-animal ban does not apply to shows with dolphins or bullfighting nor does it prohibit the use of animals in Mexico's traditional rodeos.

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R July 22 2014 at 11:53 PM

Why does anyone care about anything in Mexico? They are not friends of America or the American people.

They are also holding a United States Marine suffering from PTSD who unknowingly entered Mexico.

Dictator Barack Hussein Obama has yet to demand the release of Andrew Tahmooressi,

While Dictator Obama feigns love for the American military - his actions speak the truth.

Also, have you ever watched Obama's expressions when presenting Medals of Honor to American Heroes?

It's an expression of disdain and for the recipient and America.

Obama obtained the release for an American Army Deserter - Bergdeahl - a desertion that Obama will cover up.

Also remember that Dictator Obama traded 5 top terrorists in exchange for Deserter Bergdahl.

In one swoop, Obama helped the Mideast Terrorists and Domestic Terrorists.

It's amazing that there are still diehard Dictator supporters. Obama supporters, Hitler supporters - one and the same.

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petpetdon July 23 2014 at 1:31 AM

Send the circus animals to the USA not your diseased ridden ILLEGAL ALIENS.

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crowland503 July 23 2014 at 12:36 AM

Domesticated animals are very much incorporated into the fabric of daily human interaction. While I support humane laws to protect animals, I have no respect for activists who interfere with the owners of the working animals which are not being abused and mistreated! These activists should be tarred and feather and paraded down Main Street...

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1 reply
BRILLIANT ONE crowland503 July 23 2014 at 5:31 AM

.....and what makes you think these animals are Not abused and mistreated?? I support the activists.

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Jolep112 July 22 2014 at 9:49 PM

Ever seen activists protest an event? they do what they can to block and prevent people from entering by physically getting in the way and not move over when asked. I can very well understand people getting very upset with them. Yeah, they move about, one foot then back and they call that keeping moving. What the Circuses need to do is to move to a "private" area that is not public, then, protestors can get outed for traspassing, I love Circuses Never seen anyone abuse animals except for people not connected with the circus.

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2 replies
petpetdon Jolep112 July 23 2014 at 1:32 AM

Jolep ever heard of commas and periods? Try taking an English class before you psot another comment.

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BRILLIANT ONE Jolep112 July 23 2014 at 5:38 AM

You have no idea what goes on to get these animals to do tricks. If you did you wouldn't love circuses. Wild animals, etc. were not put on this earth to do stupid tricks. However, you can certainly get a dog to do tricks without abuse. I totally understand the outrage of protesters. Find other things to do that don't involve animals. I trust you will do the right thing.

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balaland July 23 2014 at 4:35 AM

THEY CAN'T TAKE CARE OF THEIR OWN CITIZENS, why would anyone think that abuses of animals would'nt be justified...Here at slaughter houses , abuses of beef cattle are well documented.. Animal abusers are COWARDS , and should be herded and locked up, and abused in Prison..........

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1 reply
BRILLIANT ONE balaland July 23 2014 at 5:40 AM

You are so correct. The people that abuse animals are worse than animals. They should not be a part of society.

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elkhartbiker July 23 2014 at 6:43 AM

I don't care what these scum bags in Mexico do as long as they stop facilitating the movement of illegal aliens across American borders.

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