This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Jeremy Beckham's "Circus animals abused" (Forum, Oct. 3) contained gross untruths. Beckham has been taken in by radical views regarding elephant care.
Our animal care programs rival the best in the world, and we have the largest sustainable herd of Asian elephants in the Western Hemisphere. The animals are accustomed to the training methods and animal husbandry tools, which are approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. More important, many of the trained behaviors are critical to providing optimal husbandry and veterinary care.
Beckham cites our settlement with USDA over disputed inspection reports. We were not found in violation of the Animal Welfare Act and never have been. The settlement provides a way to work with the USDA to achieve our mutual goal: excellent animal care.
Beckham's letter is disrespectful to the men and women who give their lives to care for these incredible animals, literally 24/7. Our animals are healthy, fit and thriving. We hope that he and the Salt Lake community come see for themselves the bond between our animals and their handlers, instead of relying on the false rhetoric of animal-rights extremists.
Janice Aria Director of animal stewardship Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey
Polk City, Fla.