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Ringling Bros. tigers are headed for a German circus and animal activists are outraged

Christina Capatides: ‘The “Greatest Show on Earth” may have come to an end, but that doesn’t necessarily mean its lions and tigers will be able to retire to a more natural living environment, as animal activists across the globe had hoped. Documents obtained by CBS News show that Feld Entertainment, the parent company of the Ringling Bros. circus, has applied for an Endangered Species Act permit with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to export 15 of its big cats to a circus in Munich, Germany, called Zirkus Krone…  That means these 15 lions, tigers and leopards may continue many more years of performances with the very same big cat trainer they worked with at Ringling Bros. In theory, for such a permit to be issued, Ringling Bros. would have to demonstrate that the underlying activity for which the permit is being sought “enhance[s] the propagation or survival of the species.”

The problem with that, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, is that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allegedly operates under what they call a “pay-to-play approach to the enhancement requirement”. “What the service has done in the past,” explains Tony Eliseuson, senior staff attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, “is that instead of having businesses prove that an import or export is going to benefit the species as a whole, they’ve allowed you to make a nominal donation to any kind of conservation group or purpose in exchange for rubber-stamping the permit”… Eliseuson says the Animal Legal Defense Fund will do its best to convince the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to deny the permit the company has requested. If the USFW’s past track record is any indication, however, the legal advocacy organization for animals is fighting an uphill battle. Their best hope may be a public outcry, similar to the one that pressured Ringling Bros. to shutter in the first place’. SOURCE…

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