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Opinion

How can circus haters possibly know the animals are suffering?

To the editor: The chutzpah of Chris DeRose is breathtaking. (“The demise of Ringling Bros. is a victory for the animal rights movement,” Opinion, May 17)

He purports to know that animals hate the “demeaning and unnatural tricks” they were forced to perform in Ringling Bros. circuses. He asserts that certain behaviors — “swaying” — reflect deep psychological stress. He abhors the fact that animals are used for “human amusement.” He is sure that animals suffer, like humans, when they “never know freedom.”

Just when did this real-life Dr. Dolittle learn all of this from the animals?

Might some animals actually enjoy what they do because they crave the rewards that come with their work for humans? Will DeRose’s next campaigns be to end dog shows, abolish guide dogs, terminate K-9 units and stop animal caregiving?

Rather than pass more restrictive laws based on the arrogance of zealots who know what animals want, we should remember the importance of preserving our cultural heritage for posterity.

Godfrey Harris, Encino

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To the editor: Regarding the recent demise of the circuses put on by Ringling Bros.: Hallelujah!

Public attitudes toward the use and abuse of animals in entertainment are changing. The lives of most circus animals are ones of quiet desperation.

When not performing unnatural “tricks” for an insensitive public, the majority are kept chained or crammed in tiny cages. Most normal behaviors are severely curtailed.

The constant travel and performance-on-demand are also highly stressful on the animals, many of whom are endangered species. This is a true “crime against nature,” as it were.

May other circuses soon follow suit. Can rodeos be far behind?

Eric Mills, Oakland

The writer is coordinator of Action for Animals.

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