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Ban Animal Use in Georgia Bound Circuses

This petition had 2,372 supporters

There is no doubt Georgia is making great strides in many important sectors of business and agriculture. As the new home of Porsche and the much awaited presence of companies like Google (Fiber), Mercedes Benz, and many others, Atlanta, Georgia is more than just one of the nation's newest tech hubs and home to the busiest airport in the world. We sell clean, carbon-neutral energy to Europe to offset their carbon emissions, and have a diverse international community of citizens from small business owners, artists, and entrepreneurs, to students in top preforming colleges. The addition of the Center for Civil and Human Rights has paid homage to our roots as a city of forward-thinking individuals, devoted to justice and doing what is right.

We are on our way to becoming a world-class city and we are so very proud of our hard work. However, we continue to allow circuses to visit our state using wild and domesticated large animals to perform acts which are not natural to their species. To date numerous countries and cities worldwide have banned animal use in circuses including Greece, Bolivia, Mexico, Austria, Malta, and many others. Recently, Asheville, North Carolina banned the use of wild and exotic animals, making them one of our closest neighbors to make steps towards a progressive future. 

On February 14, 2015, UniverSoul Circus and Larry Carden were cited for breaking Atlanta's cruelty to animals law. A bullhook was used on a frightened elephant that would not move from the stage as directed while in front of a crowd of people. The bullhook was pushed into the elephant's mouth, making for a most assuredly painful experience. Is this what we want to teach our children? Is this the sign of a city of people who value education, kindness, equality, and stewardship? Fines and citations are not enough. Several of these elephants were removed from the wild as infants and sold to circuses as entertainers, not unlike slaves. They can live up to 30-35 years in such conditions. For Atlanta to be seen as a city that is forward-thinking, progressive, hip, and with the times, we must stop allowing outdated "shows" such as these to visit our streets. The residents of Summerhill, a small Atlanta neighborhood where UniverSoul Circus visits each year, are bombarded daily with the sounds of megaphones being used during the show. Our residents deserve better, the animals deserve better, the city of Atlanta deserves better. 

One of the most famous and successful circuses in the world, Cirque du Soleil, abstains from using wild animals. Focusing on talent, the show incorporates amazing acrobatic feats that showcase the abilities of their performers as artists. Cirque du Soleil offers youth programs and employs over 5,000 people worldwide, but most importantly, it is an honorable show that is always welcome in an up-and-coming world-class city like Atlanta. So why allow anything but the best? Why not raise the bar?

Please, Mayor Reed and Governor Deal, put an end to this archaic form of "entertainment" and help Georgia sit among the elite countries and cities that have taken measures in the name of progress. Your citizens desperately want to see positive change and banning all circuses that use wild and domestic animals would greatly advance the image of our city.

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