Sending Office: Honorable Raul M. Grijalva
Request for Signature(s)
Please join us in asking US Fish and Wildlife Service to deny the application by Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus for a permit to export 15 threatened and endangered big cats to a German circus. Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus has
held our planets most precious and now endangered big cats captive for more than a century. Their organization has now applied for a permit to export 15 threatened and endangered big cats to a German circus.
Rather than retire these threatened animals to a reputable U.S. sanctuary, , their organization is once again putting profit over the wellbeing of these animals.
If you would like to sign on to this letter or have any questions, please contact Julian Wolff in Rep. Grijalva’s office at email@example.com (x66852).
The deadline to sign on to this letter is on Thursday, June 22nd.
Raúl M. Grijalva
Member of Congress
June XX, 2017
The Honorable Ryan Zinke
Secretary of the Interior
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240
Dear Secretary Zinke,
I write today to ask that the US Fish and Wildlife Service deny the application submitted by Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus for a permit to export 15 threatened and endangered big cats to a German circus (82 FR 24381). We are concerned about
the future wellbeing of these animals, as well as the dangerously expansive interpretation of Endangered Species Act exemptions that Ringling is claiming in their application.
Ringling seeks to re-export 8 tigers, 6 lions, and one leopard to a German circus (Zircus Krone) where they previously performed under former Ringling head trainer Alexander Lacey. After enduring miserable conditions in cramped transport cars, unnatural
and stressful tricks, and punishing training methods while with Ringling, these cats will be forced to continue living in similarly exploitative circumstances with Zircus Krone. Lacey has been caught on film jabbing a tiger, and his assistant was filmed hitting
tigers with a metal bar and smashing a lioness in the mouth with a pole. While we understand that your agency cannot compel Ringling to send these animals to an appropriate sanctuary, it is within your remit to refuse their request to send the animals to poor
conditions in a different country.
Ringling is seeking an export permit for these endangered and threatened big cats under the Endangered Species Act exemption for actions that “enhance the propagation or survival of the species.” However, placing these big cats at another circus does not
provide any genuine conservation benefits to the species. Ringling’s export request is intended to facilitate continued exploitation of these big cats for profit, to the detriment of the long-abused animals. Placing these animals at another circus will continue
their oppression, prevent them from exhibiting natural behaviors, and compromise their well-being. Neither these cats nor their offspring will ever be introduced into wild populations, and thus cannot have any beneficial impact on the survival of the species
in the wild.
Despite the clear lack of conservation benefit in Ringling’s request, Ringling claims that the permit should be granted based on its financial contributions to
in-situ big cat conservation programs. This so-called “pay-to-play” tactic is a deceitful attempt to meet the “enhancement” requirement for obtaining an export permit, and should be rejected by the FWS.
As a Member of Congress we have the responsibility to ensure that animals residing within the US are protected from mistreatment, and that bedrock conservation laws such as the Endangered
Species Act are vigorously upheld. Therefore, we urge you to deny Ringling’s permit application and welcome further discussion with your office on this issue.
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