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Wednesday, July 16, 2008 

July 12th,. Canajoharie, NY. 55 miles. Narrow grass lot. Hot, humid.

Today we jumped out of the mountains into the Mohawk Valley. We won’t see many real mountains again for a long time. If I sometimes sound negative about circus, it isn’t real negativity at all. Circus is addictive. Do it long enough and you’re spoiled for much else. Kelly Miller is the best traditional mudshow on the road this season. And it may be he only traditional tented circus likely to actually grow over the next few years. Circus matters. Yesterday in Speculator a thousand children, young or young at heart saw an elephant, rode a camel, watched a trapeze artist, or a juggler, or a bareback rider, or a tiger act. Some of those children were almost certainly inspired to go home and play circus today. Many of them had never seen an elephant. The magic of television and the internet pales in comparison to the magic of real life. That’s why circuses with exotic animals are still so very important. For their ability to dazzle, to make us think. John North and Jim Royal have almost certainly built on the already strong KM brand to create a show that could play the cities and move less often.. And someday it may be said that no traditional show has put so much effort into getting production just right since Clifford Vargas. But clearly KM has not and probably never will abandon the small towns. Credit where credit is due. A circus like Carson & Barnes is wondrous in its size. The cities and towns it plays probably don’t realize how lucky they really are to see the last great “big one.” Likewise a show like Culpepper & Merriweather may be equally impressive for the risks it takes. A small show that can literally play a crossroads given a strong enough sponsor. It takes courage to be a circus owner, whether you are Geary and Barbara Byrd or whether you are Trey Key. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and say, “Well the big show doesn’t carry twenty elephants anymore” or maybe, “When will that little show buy a new tent?” It’s much harder to make the payroll and pony up for diesel.

Several people have expressed concern lately that I have been critical of animal care practices either on the show that I work for or on other shows. I think it’s important for me to state this clearly. My positions haven’t changed. My job has changed. I have always believed that animal liberation hiding behind the mantle of “animal rights” has nothing to do with animal welfare, and everything to do with a utopian philosophical ideology that leads not to a better life for animals, but rather to wide spread extinction. As the spokesperson for a show I want people to understand that clearly. As the animal manager for a show I must also be a passionate advocate for the animals that I care for and for the role of animals on circuses in the future. I know that a show like Carson & Barnes genuinely cares about the animals on the show because once I was the guy lying on the ground breach birthing a goat there. Nobody will find and call out a veterinarian when needed faster than Kristin Parra. I know that Trey Key cares about the animals on Culpepper, I was the guy training cat grooms. I know that John Ringling North II genuinely loves the animals on this show. He’s the man fixing morning toast for the ride camel. All of the Oklamhoma based circuses are genuine in their desire to do the right thing by animals. If there’s a problem with the show animals here – it’s my fault and I’m sure that Mr. Royal or Mr. North would be quick to find someone to do my job. If a problem arose on CB or CM I don’t doubt for a minute that Kristin or Trey would fix it. Likewise on the Feld shows. If I suggest now and then that a circus could do better, or that a specific problem exists here and there – that’s not an attack on circus. It’s a plea to make things right so that we can continue to do what we already try to do well -- train and manage animals. Animal Welfare Act compliance is important. And if show are to continue to carry animals in the future attempting to comply every day is a given. But regulation isn’t the real answer. Policing ourselves is the solution. Circuses don’t make many mistakes, and good circuses fix them. That’s the best that anyone can ask of us. The vast majority of trainers and licensed exhibitors are committed to animal welfare standards. The notion espoused by animal rights advocates that trained animals are exploited abused and discarded is simply wrong. There’s no economic upside to mistreating an animal when that animal contributes to your livelihood. It’s never been easy for any show to travel one the road for much of the year with wild animals. But the awe in child’s eyes when she or he see a tiger or Roman Riding or a finely tuned liberty act is well worth the extra effort.

What you post is so true. But everytime we think we have the up hand on the animal rights groups. Video like the Bailey Bros. Abuse show up. I don't know how old it is but still it show up. What can we do?

Ben we all know that you are full of crap every person that has ever worked with you knows that you are an acavista anyone who really wants to do the leg work can see that you have affiliations with ALF and PETA it is simply disgusting. You were born into Carnivals everybody knows you were the GEEK. if you ask any performer or real animal trainer with animals that wont Eat you they will tell you you are a slime ball and you just need to stop working with and for upstanding show people look at how they present themselves then look how you dress with stains on your kakies how dare you you are skum of the earth and should be sent into a cage with a rabid bear whos been given a crap load of viagra.
and you dont even have the guts to aprove this because everyone will see it and you are so scared that they will all find out. oh yea your boyfriend savage says hi

Rabid bears. Now there's a thought. Thanks for reading.

You have a boyfriend??????

Does your wife know about this,,,,,LOL

I didn't know it myself. Amazing what you learn on the 'net. Funnier still that one guy calls me an activist while some YouTube idiot thinks I'm an abusive circus criminal. Gotta laugh sometimes.

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About me

  • I'm B.E.Trumble
  • From Everywhere, United States
  • Ben Trumble works in circus, carnival, and media relations
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