The Record - Cambridge, Ontario
Shriner’s Circus not welcome by all members of Cambridge council
Thu May 26 2011
By Kevin Swayze, Record staff
CAMBRIDGE — Three Cambridge councillors don’t welcome the Shriner’s Circus coming to town next month.
“I’m opposed to such events that have animals, particularly circus animals like elephants. It’s cruel,” said Coun. Donna Reid.
The event is aimed at children, so we’re telling children it’s OK to be cruel to animals, Reid said. It would be better for people to spend their money watching something like Cirque du Soleil, where only humans perform, she said.
Councillors Rick Cowsill and Pam Wolf have joined with Reid in voting against the city waiving its animal control rules to allow circus animals under a big tent in the Cambridge Centre parking lot June 17-19.
The issue goes to city council for a final vote Monday night.
“I think the time for this type of entertainment is past,” Wolf said. “If you want to see elephants, you have a very good venue down the road at the lion safari, where animals can be seen in their natural habitat.”
But Coun. Ben Tucci said Shriners raise money to help children who need medical treatment. .
“I think Shriners will ensure the animals are fed, watered and shaded,” Tucci said.
The motion includes asking the Cambridge Humane Society to oversee welfare of the circus animals.
Tucci and Coun. Frank Monteiro voted against adding that to the original motion, after hearing the city can’t require the humane society to inspect the circus.
The humane society checks out the Shriner’s circus every year when it visits town, said animal protection officer Tracey Laraway.
She knows the operators by name.
“They know why I’m there,” Laraway said. “I’ve got carte blanche to go where I want. There’s never been a reason to change anything. They know what they’re doing.”
The visit isn’t an investigation, she said. It’s the same kind of routine visit she makes to pet stores, veterinarian offices or the Portuguese bull fights in North Dumfries Township, she said.
“I never like seeing the elephants chained up, and now they aren’t. They now have an electric fence. I know all about it. One of them pushed me into it two years ago. I know it works first hand.”