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E-M:/ Contact "Today" Show -- Demand Fair Reporting on Elephant Issue



This morning, at approx. 8:45, on a cold, rainy day when temperatures were 
hovering below 40 degrees, the Today Show did a live shot with elephants 
from the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey circus.  This is the second time in 
two 
weeks that the show has featured the circus, as two weeks ago Matt Lauer did 
an in studio interview with Sarah (Houcke?), their newest glamour girl and 
so-called elephant expert who trains them with "love."  
  
Today, Sarah appeared on the show with another trainer named "Randy."  The 
two 
elephants shown were Jewel,  40 years old, and Rebecca,  25 years old.  I 
imagine they were waiting either outside, unsheltered, or in unheated 
trailers since 
the very early morning hours, awaiting their 15 minutes of fame on live TV.
  
Randy claimed that caring for the animals is 24-hour-a-day job, and then did 
a so-called pedicure on Jewel by making her put one of her feet up on a stool 
as he 
supposedly filed her nails.  Host Matt Lauer asked how long the elephants 
can perform, and Sarah said until old age like 60, 70 years, and then, she 
said, 
they go to a "retirement home!"
  
Lauer then asked if having the elephants stand on their hind legs was a 
natural behavior, and Sarah claimed that yes, these are movements they 
naturally do, but that they just "encourage" them to perform these natural 
movements.  She stated that elephants stand on their hind legs to get leaves 
off trees in the wild!
  
Lauer, noting that it was cold, offered Sarah his coat (I think he draped it 
around her, was out of the room at that  moment) and the audience went " 
Awww...." in approval of his chivalry.  Lauer  then stated, half jokingly, 
that the elephants didn't need the coat because "the elephants don't care 
about the cold."  And then off to commercial, after which they were going to 
show some trained dogs.  
  
Please contact the Today Show to urge them not to promote such a cruel 
enterprise and to present both sides of the circus issue:  e-mail:  
today@nbc.com  ______________________

 
Ask "Today" to Present Both Sides of Circus Controversy
 
The March 21, 2000, broadcast of NBC's "Today" show featured a one-sided
promotion of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus that included
elephants and animal trainers. Contrary to the statements made by Ringling's
trainers, elephants in the circus never have a nice day. Elephants in the 
circus live
most of their lives in leg shackles, they are beaten with bullhooks to break
their spirits, and they are forced to travel most of the in unheated and 
uncooled boxcars. They often suffer crippling injuries from constantly being 
chained and forced to perform physically difficult tricks.

Ringling has been cited repeatedly by the USDA for violating minimum
standards of care over the years. With Ringling's attendance declining and 
legislation being introduced at local, state, and federal levels that would 
restrict traveling animal acts, "Today's" Ringling promotion is out-of-touch 
with current views. 

Please contact the executive producer and politely ask that he present both 
sides
of the circus controversy.
 
 Jeff Zucker, Executive Producer "Today"
 30 Rockefeller Plz.
 New York, NY 10112
 Tel.: 212-664-4249
 Fax: 212-664-4426
 E-Mail: today@nbc.com

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<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>&nbsp;&nbsp; The following information&nbsp;comes 
from Sue Rich. Please take a minute to e-mail Jeff Zucker:</FONT></DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2><BR>&nbsp;This morning, at approx. 8:45, on a cold, 
rainy day when temperatures were <BR>&nbsp;hovering below 40 degrees, the Today 
Show did a live shot with elephants <BR>from <BR>&nbsp;the Ringling Bros. Barnum 
and Bailey circus.&nbsp; This is the second time in two <BR>&nbsp;weeks that the 
show has featured the circus, as two weeks ago Matt Lauer did <BR>&nbsp;an in 
studio interview with Sarah (Houcke?), their newest glamour girl and 
<BR>&nbsp;so-called elephant expert who trains them with love.&nbsp; 
<BR>&nbsp;<BR>&nbsp;Today, Sarah appeared on the show with another trainer named 
Randy.&nbsp; The two <BR>elephants shown were Jewel,&nbsp; 40 years old, and 
Rebecca,&nbsp; 25 years old.&nbsp; I <BR>imagine <BR>&nbsp;they were waiting 
either outside, unsheltered, or in unheated trailers since <BR>the very early 
morning hours, awaiting their 15 minutes of fame on live 
TV.<BR>&nbsp;<BR>&nbsp;Randy claimed that caring for the animals is 
24-hour-a-day job, and then did <BR>&nbsp;a pedicure on Jewel by making her put 
one of her feet up on a stool as he <BR>&nbsp;supposedly filed her nails.&nbsp; 
Host Matt Lauer asked how long the elephants <BR>can <BR>&nbsp;perform, and 
Sarah said until old age like 60, 70 years, and then, she said, <BR>&nbsp;they 
go to a "retirement home." <BR>&nbsp;<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp; Lauer then asked if having 
the elephants stand on their hind legs was a <BR>natural behavior, and Sarah 
claimed that yes, these are movements they <BR>naturally do, but that they just 
"encourage" them to perform these natural <BR>movements.&nbsp; She stated that 
elephants stand on their hind legs to get leaves <BR>off trees in the wild, and 
that they roll in the mud.&nbsp; <BR>&nbsp;<BR>Lauer, noting that it was cold, 
offered Sarah&nbsp; his coat (I think he draped it <BR>around her, was out of 
the room at that&nbsp; moment) and the audience went " <BR>Awww...." in approval 
of his chivalry.&nbsp; Lauer&nbsp; then stated, half jokingly, <BR>that the 
elephants didn't need the coat because "the elephants don't care <BR>about the 
cold."&nbsp; And then off to commercial, <BR>&nbsp;after which they were going 
to show some trained dogs.&nbsp; <BR>&nbsp;<BR>&nbsp;Please contact the Today 
Show to urge them not to promote such a cruel <BR>&nbsp;enterprise and to 
present both sides of the circus issue:&nbsp; e-mail:&nbsp; <BR>&nbsp; <A 
href="mailto:today@nbc.com">today@nbc.com</A> 
<BR><BR>______________________<BR>MORE<BR><BR>From:&nbsp; <A 
href="mailto:iaa@igc.org">iaa@igc.org</A><BR>Ask "Today" to Present Both Sides 
of Circus Controversy<BR><BR>The March 21, 2000, broadcast of NBC&#8217;s "Today" show 
featured a one-sided<BR>promotion of Ringling Bros. and Barnum &amp; Bailey 
Circus that included<BR>elephants and animal trainers. Contrary to the 
statements made by Ringling&#8217;s<BR>trainers, the circus is no fun for the animals. 
Elephants in the circus live<BR>most of their lives in leg shackles, they are 
beaten with bullhooks to break<BR>their spirits, and they are forced to travel 
50 weeks out of the year in<BR>unheated and uncooled boxcars. They often suffer 
crippling injuries from<BR>constantly being chained and forced to perform 
physically difficult tricks.<BR>Ringling has been cited repeatedly by the USDA 
for violating minimum<BR>standards of care. In less than two years, two baby 
elephants died, a caged<BR>tiger was shot to death, a horse who was used despite 
a chronic medical<BR>condition died during Ringling&#8217;s traditional animal march, 
and a wild-caught<BR>sea lion was found dead in her transport 
container.<BR><BR>With Ringling&#8217;s attendance declining and legislation being 
introduced at<BR>local, state, and federal levels that would restrict traveling 
animal acts,<BR>"Today&#8217;s" Ringling promotion is out-of-touch with current views. 
Please<BR>contact the executive producer and politely ask that he present both 
sides<BR>of the circus controversy.<BR><BR>Jeff Zucker, Executive 
Producer<BR>"Today"<BR>30 Rockefeller Plz.<BR>New York, NY 10112<BR>Tel.: 
212-664-4249<BR>Fax: 212-664-4426<BR>E-Mail: <A 
href="mailto:today@nbc.com">today@nbc.com</A><BR><BR><BR></FONT></DIV></FONT></DIV></FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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