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Saturday, August 22, 2009 

Palmyra, WI. 60 miles. Grass. Sunny, cool.

Early shows on another day that feels more like autumn than summer.

Friday August 21st. Evansville, WI. 35 miles. Grass. Cool.

Great shows on grass lot after a cold morning with rain. Some of the nastiest animal liberation protestors I’ve seen outside of California. Foul-mouthed and crude. They actually stole a dog from the home of a show family and tried to cry assault when it was forcefully taken back. They were happy to call show children dumb and insulted them for leaving in trailers. Finally the police forced them off the lot and out of the backyard. Claiming compassion for animals is no cover for the hatred activists feel for human beings.

Nice visit with circus fan Steve Flint today. A pleasure.

Thursday August 20th. New Glarius, WI. 40 miles. Grass. Wet. Cool.

High temperature only in the 60s today. Morning rain. Good crowd watching the tent go up. Several circus email lists have reported on the problems Willie Davenport is having down in Texas where USDA has seizing his elephant “Jewel” on medical grounds. I’ve been of the opinion for many years that circuses, like zoos once-upon-a-time, can learn to live with regulation by creating flawless paper trails. Plenty of good trainers have had run ins with USDA/APHIS because being a good trainer or a well intentioned animal caretaker doesn’t automatically make somebody good at the minutia of bureaucracy. Despite the feeling sometimes that Federal and State agencies are “out-to-get” anybody in the animal business (and sometimes it looks like that) governments tend to be impersonal -- basing end decisions less on the opinion of one inspector or another, and more on the ability of an exhibitor to prove the government wrong through documentation. The willingness of APHIS to “disqualify” the judgement of local vets on exotic animal issues serves as a warning that documenting copious consultations with “specialists” is probably a must these days when health issues arise with exotics held under USDA license. While in a perfect world no one should ever have to prove their innocence or good intent it’s pretty clear that anything less than that won’t satisfy agencies that live to dot the “i”s and cross the “t”s. Plenty of exhibitors argue that such perfection in records keeping is almost beyond the ability of smaller animal operations – and it’s certainly costly -- but again learning from zoos, the churn that satisfies bureaucracy is a language we can learn and might have made a difference in the case of Willie Davenport and Jewel, or additional issues in the case that may come out of Fish & Wildlife and have nothing to do with circus or exhibition or animal care.

About me

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