As the Santa Fe City Council prepares to hold a public hearing tomorrow on a proposed ban on traveling animal acts — just days after a tiger once used by Ringling Bros. circus escaped from a truck and was shot dead in Georgia — actor Alec Baldwin highlights the cruelty of animal circuses in his new PETA campaign.
In the video, the Emmy winner supplies the voice for an abused tiger who is separated from his mother, whipped, and trained to perform bizarre stunts.
“Whenever I tried to play, I was whipped, jabbed, or hit with a stick,” Baldwin says in the video. “They made me perform scary tricks, like jumping through rings of fire. I knew what would happen if I didn’t obey. And this happened over and over and over, until I knew there was no escape. Until my spirit was crushed.”
Councilor Signe Lindell introduced the bill to ban the use of wild animals such as tigers in circuses and traveling shows in Santa Fe earlier this year, and PETA’s supporters in the city have been vocal in their backing of the measure.
PETA — whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” — notes that while Ringling Bros. shuttered this spring, other circuses that feature cruel animal acts are still touring in Santa Fe and other parts of the country. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture suspended the license of Culpepper & Merriweather Circus (which frequently brings big cats to New Mexico) in 2011 after it demonstrated a “shockingly cavalier attitude” toward the health and safety of animals by failing to hire an attending veterinarian, provide tiger cubs with adequate nutrition, and provide a wounded tiger cub with care and treatment. In addition, while the circus was on tour, a tiger named Delilah gave birth to three cubs who were taken away from her to be raised by a circus worker — two died within weeks of their birth, and a third was later seized by inspectors who found him confined to a dog carrier in the hot cab of a truck.
This isn’t the first time that Baldwin has helped PETA oppose cruelty under the big top. His 2012 video exposé of elephants in the circus helped lead to a similar ban on traveling wild-animal acts in his native New York in June.
PETA supports animal rights, opposes all forms of animal exploitation, and informs the public on those issues. The group does not directly or indirectly participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office or any political party.