City Government

“No Circus Animals,” What About Zoo Boise?

In a Boise WEEKLY story, Boise City Councilor TJ Thomson and Meridian Councilor Genesis Milam were said to add their voices to the “loud call to end the public exhibition of exotic animals in Idaho.”

The politicos jumped on the anti-circus animal band wagon during the recent run of the Shrine Circus at the Century Link Arena in Boise.

Once again, like many things city councilors do, they are well intended, but not well thought out. Thomson is one of the “keepers” of ZOO BOISE–where big cats, bears, deer, elk, giraffes, and assorted exotic animals are on “public exhibition,” captive of the city and the councilors who run it. If Thomson is true to his position, he will have to either withdraw support of the captive zoo or finesse a response. (As always, the GUARDIAN offers a forum for response).

The GUARDIAN understands and acknowledges the role many zoos play in the preservation of species while providing children and adults a chance to see live animals they may otherwise never see. That said, we too find it unpleasant to see caged animals pacing on concrete floors while locked behind bars–be they at a circus or in a zoo.
Protester Lorraine Guptill said the circus exhibition of animals through strange environments, including the intense heat of the Intermountain West, is detrimental to the creatures’ health. (Sorta like a mobile zoo).

Thomson told the WEEKLY, “My goal is to start a public discussion. We need to determine if this is something we will continue to support as a community.”

That discussion just started!

UPDATE 7/7/15
Response by Councilor TJ THOMSON

I believe zoos and circuses are very different from one another.

The animals at a zoo live in an environment that is more spacious and designed to reflect their original habitat. While no amount of living space can compare to that which an animal is allotted in the wild, zoo animals have consistency in their life, with no expectation to travel show-to-show and “perform” before crowds.

Zoo animals rarely come from the wild, but are bred (between zoos) and would not survive if released into the wild. In many cases, animals that are extinct in the wild can still be found in zoos because of these protections. Zoo animals are provided top-of-the-line medical attention, nutritious meals and loving care and social attention. Zoo Boise and other zoos also provide a percentage of the money raised to conservation around the world.

Animals at zoos aren’t “trained” to do ridiculous acts while dressed up in silly outfits to please an audience. Circus “trainings” are well documented to include inhumane tactics, the use of sharp weapons and force the animals into unnatural, painful positions. There is no way to continuously monitor these circus trainings to assure the humane treatment of the animals.

Zoos are heavily regulated and held to mandated standards. Zoo animals don’t travel from city to city, through harsh climates – both hot and cold – confined to small cages for the majority of their life.

There are also public safety concerns using wild animals in shows and accidents have happened that have injured and killed citizens within the public. A circus could put on a heck of a show without the exotic animals and many circuses are dropping the exotic animals, while still attracting the crowds they desire. Circuses serve as the “poster child” of this issue, but there are other traveling shows, such as those that use exotic cats, that I believe would fall into the same category.

Let’s view exotic animals in a zoo, sanctuary, or in the wild. I support an end to the use of exotic animals for entertainment purposes in the City of Boise and look forward to a public discussion on the issue.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I find zoos rather disgusting places due to the confinement of wild animals. With few exceptions the critters appear to be depressed and otherwise crazy from their confinement and unnatural environment. Many are medicated to deal with this confinement.

    The only benefits are education and preservation. These are important benefits, but a zoo’s license should be more narrowly defined and very powerfully regulated by the federal government. As it is now, there’s just too much gray area such as the circus animals and dumpy little under-funded municipal zoos.

  2. Grumpy ole Guy
    Jul 6, 2015, 8:27 pm

    I give the protesters credit for concern for animal welfare; but, as the Guardian suggests, those who protest ought to focus on the ill-treatment aspect and not, the ownership issue. Since our Legislature voted to refuse the recording of animals on farms, we should assume they are not concerned about animal welfare in zoos or circuses. So if cities or counties wish to take a stance, they should acknowledge that they are out of sync with the State.

  3. A conversation?
    How about the fact the protestors are taking tidbits of the past to have something to cry about animals over.

    “They’re tortured until they do what circuses want them to do”

    So does Hollywood TORTURE animals to be in the movies?

    Does TJ TORTURE his dogs to get them to shake hands and do stupid pet tricks? Is it torture to put his dogs on a lease to hike in the foothills on a “leash only” trail– of course a dog wants to run WILD in the foothills. And when he gone to work all day, the dogs are left home ALONE (pack animals) and confined… that so CRUEL.

    Is it TORTURE to utilize an injured or orphaned animal in a circus to make a way for its survival?

    TJ owns two Malamutes. These dogs belong in Alaska. NOT Idaho.

    From the BW: Guptill added that touring the animals through strange environments, including the intense heat of the Intermountain West, is detrimental to the creatures’ health.

    “They can’t be subjected to these extreme temperature changes,” Guptill said.


    I say we protest TJ treating HIS dogs badly.

  4. Discussing captive animals is akin to discussing gay marriage, religion or when to change your oil. All are too hard to debate, because there is not one right answer.

    I say we let the Zoo go the way of the State Parks, financially self-sufficient. I looked and could not find the zoo budget, by my guess is there is some city funds used. (if I am wrong, Kudos to the city for already making this decision.)

  5. I found it…..on page 135.

    Looks like the city chips about $750,000 each year for zoo operations.

  6. Feast for the Beast…. Every time some one talks about the zoo brings back to mind when they had this fund raiser for the zoo with a special back stage pass for feeding the cats for the big donors.

    Things went wrong and a tiger ( if I remember) got in with a women donor (Janet Gold if my memory hasn’t failed) and the police had to shoot the tiger and the women got shot in the leg and also had puncture wounds.

    No more Feast for the Beast… we just do private parties with wine and beer and “spend the night with the animals” for the boy scout and other kid groups.

    What could go wrong? Feast for the Beast was 15 years ago. We are so much smarter now…..

    EDITOR NOTE–The tiger got into a back stage area with the woman, so the cop shot the woman.
    Coppers claimed it was a ricochet, but the slug in her leg went directly in and city made a settlement.

  7. Rod in SE Boise
    Jul 7, 2015, 3:06 pm

    TJ and the other City Council members should focus their attention, not on circus animals, but on privately owned (in people’s homes) exotic animals like snakes and tigers. That practice is a relic from the past.

  8. Is the subject really Zoo and Circus animal welfare? Or, is it TJ Thomson needing to get 15 seconds of fame towards an aggregate of 15 minutes?

    I am impressed when our political types are forward thinking and positive leaders. TJ Thomson is leaning towards opportunist headline-seeking late-to-the-game showboating.

    If you read his bio on his campaign site ( you would think he was the second coming of Christ or at least a latter-day Job, full of wisdom.

    Let’s see what he comes up with next to get his name before the public. I hope it will be a positive effort for Boise rather than to tear something down (like another state’s flag for our Mayor’s publicity stunt).

  9. According to a review published on May 29 in the journal Science, current extinction rates are up to a thousand times higher than they would be if people weren’t in the picture.

    We can’t survive without the diversity found in nature. Zoos are a small effort to reign in the effects of mankind on the planet, save some of that diversity. I agree with what TJ wrote.

  10. I agree with TJ that a circus is materially different than a zoo, despite both being unnatural for the animal.

    What I am not sure of in TJ’s statement is if he is advocating that the circus be ended by encouraging people to not to support and attend the circus, or if he is suggesting local policy or codes to prevent a circus.

    While I agree with TJ that circuses and fast food are bad, therefore do not patronize either, however I disagree with what I perceive to be his attempt to restrict or limit people’s right to participate in these legal activities. I am concerned many politicians, including TJ believe if something is a good idea, it should become a law.

    Part of living in a free society is allowing others to make choices that you might disagree with, not every good idea has to be a law, that is how we slowly enslave ourselves.

    There are existing laws for the treatment of animals. If the circus is breaking that law, then pony up the evidence, apply the law and shut the operation down. If you feel the animal treatment laws are to lax, then like any of us, TJ can contact his legislature and in the appropriate venue petition for a change to the law.

  11. Zippo: … a zoo’s license should be more narrowly defined and very powerfully regulated by the federal government….

    Well, there you go! Like every problem we face, we should expect the government to come up with a solution. And the best solutions always come from D.C. bureaucrats.

    I propose a new cabinet-level department: The Department of Bread and Circuses. (Some say there should be two – the Department of Bread, and the Department of Circuses. Time may prove them right, but I like the two combined.) With a Chief Deputy Undersecretary of Zoo Operations and Compliance, and a cadre of Under-Undersecretaries scattered across the Fruited Plain… however many are needed… to make scheduled and unscheduled visits to our nation’s zoos. Make sure those critters are well-fed and content. (Except for the grizzly bears… I’ve heard they are just kinda angry, whether in a zoo or in their native habitat.)

    Oh – and shame on another commenter for bringing Mr. Thomson’s hairstyle into the discussion!

  12. I agree with TJ. The zoo-animal argument is a red herring, meant to defame TJ’s good intentions and distract us from the real issue here.

    It is civilized and wise to NOT promote the torture of animals. Indeed, we have some laws protecting safety of domesticated animals. Those laws do not protect circus animals. Animals living in the zoo have a life that is entirely different from animals who are put in cages and made to travel across the country for most months out of the year. TJ is not advocating the end of the circus or stopping people from having the choice of going to the circus. This discussion was started to strictly in regard to ending the use of wild animals for entertainment of the circus kind where wild animals are abused in order to perform tricks and live in entirely unnatural circumstances.

  13. Demetra Conklin
    Jul 9, 2015, 7:36 am

    How did this debate shift to zoos? The subject is animals performing in the circus, particularly emotionally intelligent, sentient creatures (elephants). What is incredibly disturbing is the training methods, bullhooks and the grueling travel these animals endure, often chained by one leg for hours. We all know in our hearts that this is not right for elephants and has nothing to do with the zoo.

  14. Bikeboy, the FEDERAL government already has their solution, the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 and the USDA enforces it. So it is kinda already Bread and Circuses…and beef too.

    Demetra, it is not just about animals in a circus.
    The wacko animal lovers won’t stop with a circus.
    Next it will be the county fair showing animals- FFA and 4H— “oh those animals have to sit in their stall all day. Those kids ‘torture’ animals to behave in a show just to win a blue ribbon”… blah blah blah.

    It’s the same wacko mentality as “The Cat Lady”. They are so emotional about the animals they are not considering a rational solution. Instead of “treat the animals well- they are 100% NO ANIMALS.
    Then it will be pet stores, then animal shelters…how about that annual dog show? Cruel breeding just to get produce a dog without a snout and then transport them around the country week after week- with breathing problems, just to win a prize… The animal lovers have a lot of work to do to accomplish their mission.

    And they produce the same results as the anti-horse slaughter campaign: negative, unintended results.

  15. “Zoos are a small effort to reign in the effects of mankind on the planet, save some of that diversity.”

    Hmm when I did a after hours tour of the zoo our group was told most of the bigger animals have been sterilized. (For you folks in Kuna that means no babies)

    Not sure how that is going to save some of the diversity?

  16. BB, You’re on to it now! Also, all city council members must have an expensive license to verify they can read, do math, and are not narcissistic. Heavy handed federal regulations are needed to make sure they are not abusing their power by stepping outside of the few core things they should be concerned with.

  17. Eagle Writer
    Jul 9, 2015, 11:04 am

    Demetra asks a fair question about how the debate shifted to zoos? The answer is that the circus and the zoo share the practice of keeping captive, or raising in-house otherwise “wild” animals.

    So the debate was always going to be applied from one to the other, to house pets, farm animals and rodeos. It is the proverbial elephant’s nose in the tent. Or was it a camel?

    A reason some of us oppose regulating, “protecting” or sanctioning one use of animals is that regulation creep will move to the next and the next, just as this debate did.

    It is a fear shared by many who oppose gay marriage – what is next?

    Our practice as a society supports the fears as evidenced by the recent “flag” discussions. A demented racist in the south shoots nine innocent people and cable tv cancels reruns of “The Dukes of Hazzard,” because a flag is painted on the car.

    It is evidenced by a golf tournament being moved from a course that bears the name “Trump,” because a presidential candidate made a statement on immigration that is supported by the statistics and an article in today’s Statesman.

    How did we get from immigration policy to golf tournaments, to the Dukes, to zoos? It is all by the same path. And that is the fear.

  18. Thank you for raising this discussion. While I don’t enjoy going to the zoo and have never taken my children, I do believe the zoo and animals in a circus are very different. Elephants at the zoo are not chained and confined to cages. They are not beaten with bull hooks to learn to do stupid tricks. Let’s not compare apples with oranges.

    I also believe progress is gradual in the field of animal protection. Little by little, day by day. Let’s focus on the issue at hand and not deter helping circus animals by side tracking to animals in the zoo. Circuses are gradually abandoning the use of elephants and other animals. Personally, I would much rather see amazing acrobats as in Cirque Du Soleil.

  19. Lorraine Guptill
    Jul 10, 2015, 1:00 am

    I have read both the articles and the comments in The Boise Weekly and The Boise Guardian and have taken a few days to contemplate before I leave my thoughts.

    Why are we not applauding the council members for their foresight and their courage to take a stand against the suffering of animals in the circus. It blows my mind that it has to be a courageous act though, but reading some of the comments its clear to see why. Why is recognizing suffering become something to be used against these two wonderful, caring people, we should be rejoicing that they live in our communities and that they are sacrificing their time to serve the members of their community. Their desire to be humane should speak volumes of their characters and should be the kind of people that need to be serving us in office.

    Idahoans are better than this, especially when the suffering is very clear to see, if you are not seeing it then you need to figure out why. I chose a path many years ago, a path that has lead me to walk a little gentler, to look a little closer, to recognize that sometimes not everything is what its seems to be up front, to recognize suffering and to do all I can to help relieve it.

    It is unfortunate that people still in this age do not want to believe that the circus is cruel to animals. It has always been cruel and will continue to be cruel until we as a society are willing to do something about it. Throughout history mankind has behaved sometimes terribly wrong, allowed things to take place to carry on for way too long until someone, someone brave, someone who raises above the ones who seek to belittle them, doubt them, silence them, takes a stand.

    We have all heard the stories about how wonderful life in the circus is, how well cared for the animals are, how they are trained with love, how much the circus cares about conservation and their efforts, but stories are glorified when there are millions of dollars at stake. I have also heard many times that this is a chance for one to see wild animals up close and to see them perform. Why would anyone want to see animals perform unnatural acts, acts that wild animals would never do in their natural environments, consider also why would these animals perform? Why would an 8,000 lb Elephant stand on its head or balance on tiny tubs. Why would animals who are deathly afraid of fire jump through rings of it? Why are their trainers armed with weapons if the animals perform for the love of it? If you have convinced yourself that they perform freely with no harm to them then there’s not much I can say to change your views, but, how can you justify and explain away their life of cruel confinement. Their constant travel from city to city in cramped box cars or trucks, standing or laying in their own waste, traveling for up to 11 months, performing up to 3 shows a day and spending their non performance time anchored by chains or locked up in cages standing on concrete and not seeing the sun light. How can this treatment day after day, month after month, year after year, a life of confinement be anything but cruel?

    I am one of the protesters that stand out side the circus, in hopes of sharing my knowledge with those who may not otherwise know what goes on behind the doors. I talk with many of the circus patrons who stand in line, some still chose to enter, some decide to leave, some come out knowing they will never return. The children know, they look, they see, they feel it, they know. I have the opportunity to speak with many who work inside the event center. This year I was told of the condition of the big cats as they were rolled of the trucks in the blazing heat confined in small cages and foaming at the mouth and rolled into the arena not to see the light of day for over 4 days, only leaving their cages to perform terrifying acts with fire. How is this not cruel? How can this confinement be justified?

    At some point this will be universally banned. Why must Boise wait for this ban to be decided for us, Instead Boise should join the ranks of cities with vision who have decide that circuses with animals have no place in a compassionate society. May we encourage and support these council members who with out fear stood up and have started the discussion.
    Lastly I was quoted above that I made a comparison to a mobile zoo…never said it!

    EDITOR NOTE–First off, thanks for your comments. Sorry about the “mobile zoo” comment. That was our comment and we hopefully fixed it with the parentheses.
    In general, we are concerned with the universal condemnation of all circuses. We love animals as much as you, but it is simply unfair to protest against the Shrine Circus unless they have done something illegal or inhumane. To say all circuses with animals are cruel is like saying all coppers are bad and all politicians are crooked. If you have evidence or knowledge of illegal or inhumane acts, file charges, demand investigations and file lawsuits. We think the folks who made video of abuse of cows are true heroes. The legislators who passed the “ag gag” bill should be voted out of office. However, it would be unfair to condemn all farmers who milk cows.

  20. Lorraine Guptill
    Jul 10, 2015, 8:02 am

    Thank you for fixing it 🙂
    Just so you know the Shriners hire circuses every year for their Shrine Circus. They choose The Jordan World circus for the Boise Shrine, who in turn has to RENT their animals from other organizations since they lost their exhibitors license years ago due to violations. Most often they rent their animals from Carson and Barnes who have the worst trainer on the planet. I am so glad that you love animals too and would love to actually sit and talk with you, its hard to read someones tone through words sometimes 🙂
    Here is a video of Tim Frisco….this is why we need to end this

  21. Eagle Writer
    Jul 10, 2015, 12:30 pm

    Lorraine, I’m sure you know that renting animals for events is quite common and sometimes the established industry practice.

    My question on this issue, not just of you, is whether we are to oppose circuses or poor treatment of animals? These are two very different issues. I oppose bad treatment of animals, but I favor their use in circuses, rodeos, parades, dog shows, dog racing, horse racing, horse jumping, and horse-drawn carriages. I favor carrier and racing pigeons, falconry, Sea World, the use of elephants to build roads in India, and canaries to save miners lives.

    Our history is of oxen turning mills, and dirt fields plowed by the strength and use of mules, horses and cows, not to mention the pulling of the wagons across our celebrated Oregon Trail.

    I oppose animal fighting of any kind. I approve of hunting.

    I have taught my Golden Retriever circus tricks…and to do unnatural acts such as not chasing ducks or geese, rabbits or squirrels.

    I suspect there are many who take issue with much I have written above, but I think it important to identify exactly the position desired on the next issue from circusing to the next and the next. There are some whose campaigns would end all human interaction with animals. And that I oppose, along with the gateway actions that will lead there.

  22. Guptill said “…Elephants stand on concrete when they should be standing on dirt, and they are chained up when they should be walking fifty miles a day”

    Okay Lorrainne, when are you going to protest TJ and Boise Council about the Zoo?
    The giraffes are not walking and running 50 miles a day? If you think that aspect for a circus elephants is noteworthy and cruel, then you must think the treatment of a Boise giraffe is equally unsuitable. I dont’ know, but I bet when the elephant gets back home after the tour, the elephants gets acres of pasture to run around- not so for the Boise giraffes.

    When are you going to protest ZooBoise Lorraine?

    When will you protest the fact giraffes are confined in a SMALL enclosure to keep their body temperatures up during the winter? Giraffes can DIE when the ambient temperature drops below 65 degrees. Giraffes don’t belong in Boise, Idaho. An enclosed giraffe can die if the temp around their legs is too low even though the temps above around their neck and head are 70+. (USDA AWA site). Imagine if a parent forced a child to stay in their bedroom for the whole winter. You would think that’s cruel, right Lorraine? But TJ and his giraffes are okay?

    TJ says, “I support an end to the use of exotic animals for entertainment purposes in the City of Boise”.
    “Entertainment purposes” sounds like a zoo. The zoo is in the Parks and Recreation department after all- not “culture” like the Library!.

    TJ says the zoo animals have “consistency in their life, with no expectation to travel show-to-show and “perform” before crowds.”

    That is called BOREDOM in a zoo, TJ and it is easy to see that boredom can destroy an animals mind more than traveling with variety. Many animals need a job or an activity. Dogs are an excellent example- they want to do something and the want to please their master. Pretty sure elephants need something to do every day too. Smart animals need activity and stimulus- not staying in a cage just waiting for the next meal- day after day– that “consistency” sucks.

    Lorrain, USDA says the circus passes, the owner is there to say they take care of the animals- sounds pretty reasonable. You have a video 8 years old from who knows where, made by who knows, for what purpose? Why does an elephant stand on tub? IDK. Why does a Chihuahua hop on its back legs? Your perspective is pretty weak. I’ll guess you are gluten-free too.

    The point is, it’s pretty hard to protest animal cruelty without protesting the typical zoo- and in Boise that is overseen by TJ and the city council.
    Maybe instead of the cruel zoo, we can have another St Luke’s building.

  23. I don’t support the use of animals in the circus nor do I support the zoo. If people want to enjoy a circus, they can go to Cirque Du Soleil which is amazing! And if people want to view animals, they can go and visit them at a sanctuary. And if they can’t do either of those, there are plenty of other things to do for entertainment that don’t involve animals. That being said, I am not going to bash TJ for supporting this cause. Sometimes, relics of the past have to be dismantled piece by piece. It is not an ideal situation but any step forward is a good step. There really is too much information out there demonstrating the abuse that circus animals endure during training as well as on the road for us to plead ignorance at this point. After reading all of these comments, I find it interesting that many of you are demanding that Lorraine Guptill provide you proof of abuse which she was good enough to provide you via video, Yet none of you, who claim it is not true, have yet to present any video proof of the contrary. Thank goodness it is not too late! We will be waiting on pins and needles to see this! Yes, the circus claims that they treat and train their animals humanely (as demonstrated in the article the Easterner shared with us because we all know that they would include abuse in their own article) and yet they have not released a single video of this “humane” training method that they use to get their animals to do these ridiculous tricks. In the wake of the circus protests across the world, one would think that if they have found such a fantastic method of training this would be the perfect time to release such a video in their own defense. They could probably even make money selling this fantastic training method to other circuses. And yet they have done no such thing. You want us to find a law that they are breaking. They aren’t breaking any laws because we don’t have any laws that protect them from abuse. It’s ridiculous that we don’t after all we have laws to protect our pets. If we were to train or beat our pets with a bullhook, or use an electric prod on them then we would be charged with a crime. Unfortunately, circus animals do not have that type of protection but that does not make what they are doing right. There was a time when we didn’t have laws against husbands beating women and children and our pets but that didn’t make it right. And it was brave souls standing up against it despite the views of others who wanted to just keep things they way they were. You wonder why there is limited video demonstrating the abuse behind the scenes. That’s an easy question to answer. It is because the circus doesn’t allow people to film such things, for obvious reasons. Therefore, the video has to be acquired via undercover investigations. But again, that video is available and video to the contrary is not. That is interesting to say the least.
    This is some of the information I found about the training methods of animals in circuses.
    A great documentary on this issue is “An Apology to Elephants. This is a great video about the training of elephants in Thailand for anyone who is interested. It was a documentary done by a comedian. The training method is very similar to that of the circus elephant.
    Just to name a few.
    P.S. Easterner…What does eating or not eating gluten have to do with anything. I eat gulten but I don’t abuse animals. That’s like me saying you sit on your butt eating bon bons while other people go out and stand up for their beliefs. Don’t be stupid.

  24. This is a great example of the USDA being presented with evidence and not doing anything about it.

  25. Oops! It appears that part of my sentence that starts on line 28 did not make it through. Totally my fault. The sentence should go as follows:

    “And it was brave souls standing up against it, despite the views of others who wanted to keep things the way they were, who are the reason for the laws we have in place today.”


  26. Eureka! Put the city leaders in the zoo cages, and rent them out to the circus when it comes to town.

  27. Suzi, that is a lot of jibberish.
    Let’s take one example – your statement of “They aren’t breaking any laws because we don’t have any laws that protect them from abuse.”

    That is NOT true Suzi there is the well known AWA federal law in place since 1966. Every exhibitor has to have inspections and is subject to compliance. And of course many states have state laws regarding care of animals- including circuses AND zoos.

    The link you provide of Nosey-
    Ahhh Nosey, the elephant with bad skin. USDA has charged the owner with misconduct in 2011. Proof they enforce the law.

    That is 33 claims of violations of the AWA — including “bad skin” for the elephant. Nosey had excess dead skin- so apparently the owner was not using a luffa for Nosey.
    Imagine a child with psoriasis going to school and the teacher turning the parents into CPS for child neglect…
    Obviously the owner of Nosey did not have adequate resources to care for an elephant…. It does not mean every elephant is mistreated.
    So change the existing laws. An individual person does not need to own an elephant- or boas snakes, or this or that animal. Because of course PETA has to be against private property rights. And those weirdos in Vegas do not need to own tigers either. And so on. A trained grizzly for Hollywood- should be illegal right? Obviously it must be painful to train a bear.

    The point of the post is if you protest the circus then you must surely protest ZooBoise. And for a councilman to join in a circus protest ONLY and then to defend a zoo- that is pretty lame.
    This specific circus is here one day, obeys the existing laws, and moves on with their animals to which the city has NO jurisdiction. The city does have jurisdiction and can control the CITY zoo… Nosey the Elephant, might say, “keep your nose in your own business FIRST.”

    No body is saying animal abuse is acceptable.
    Your perception of what is abuse is based on old anecdotes, mysterious videos, and misunderstanding (your statement of ‘no laws exist is proof’ of your misunderstanding).

    Here’s a vets opinion of elephant training– you know, a veterinarian, someone trained about this stuff saying bullhooks are acceptable use for training:

    And lastly here is your requested Video of HOW TO TRAIN AN ELEPHANT. I don’t know if they are making money off of it, but here you gooooooo:

    TJ, Tear down this zoo!

  28. Every year through the slavery of animals at the zoo and mandatory conservation tax applied to tickets for zoo visitors, the Boise Zoo raises $275,000 per year for conservation efforts. (Per May 15th 2015 Statesman article)

    So conservation efforts could be tripled if the City shut down the Zoo, and applied the $750K City subsidy directly to conservation efforts.

    I would suggest we close down the Zoo, apply the $750K to expanding natural habitats and nature preserves in Idaho.

  29. No circus animals?!?!? Well then what else is there to distract us from the clowns in the capital???

  30. If we shut down the zoo can I still get animal crackers for my Grandson?

  31. Heather Steele
    Jul 12, 2015, 2:14 pm

    I don’t understand why there is a need to condemn our public officials for standing up for something they feel is right, along with a large group of very concerned citizens. Isn’t that what we expect of them? I am one of the protesters that was so thankful to have the support of TJ & Genesis & beyond proud to stand with my fellow protesters. There are a lot of issues that have been addressed here & some of them are valid. And even if I agree with the fact that I do have an issue with zoo’s, this is not the topic at hand. We are bringing attention to the abuse & sheer neglect of the animals that are subjected to circus life every day. This is what we are striving to end. You have to know what can realistically be accomplished & work together to get it done. Bottom line… TJ & Genesis were there to support something that they, along with many of us, want to see an end to. This wasn’t about the zoo or anything else that this was made comparison to. This is about the documented abuse that takes place with circus animals. The fact that they are only here for a little while & move on so we don’t need to worry about it, like we should other things, is ludicrous! They do come here. We do know about it & we don’t want it to happen anymore! Whether it’s right here in Boise or across the country. One day this country will follow all the other countries that have successfully put a stop to the use of exotic animals in the circus. But until that day, we should set an example for the rest of the state’s & one day when that country wide ban happens, we can say we helped the rest of the country open their eyes. I don’t feel it’s necessary to argue about violations, videos & the abuse that takes place. The list if violations is long & undeniable, the videos have not been edited or changed to make it look like they are being abused. It’s quite obvious that is really what is taking place. And the abuse is visible both physically on the animals & emotionally in their eyes. I remember going to the circus as a child & thinking how sad the animals look & how sorry I felt for them. I enjoyed all of the other aspects of the circus, especially the trapeze artists. That’s the kind of circus that we should be taking are families to; not the circus that promotes animal abuse. I’m a firm believer in standing up for what’s right no matter whether it’s about animals, children or any other topic that I feel needs to change. But we have to realize it’s one issue at a time & it takes allot of support to get things accomplished. One step at a time, with the others that feel the way that we do, we just might see change. This is an important one to me & everyone that stands with me. We can go on & on about those other things but that is a waste of time for this particular issue that we are working so hard to achieve. I know there will always be opposition but that cannot be what we focus on. We have to stay true to the facts & our hearts & know that we have the right to protest & feel the way we do & legitimately have reason to. I will be standing tall with all of the others that want this change & will rejoice on the day that finally happens.

  32. Eagle Writer
    Jul 12, 2015, 4:43 pm

    Heather Steele: (Trapeze artists, etc.) “That’s the kind of circus that we should be taking are (sic) families to; not the circus that promotes animal abuse.”

    Therein lies the problem, Heather, and others. It is fine to tell me the kind of circus you enjoy and support but you lose all credibility when you tell me what to take my family to. Or what “I should” be taking my family to.

    The issue suddenly leaves animal welfare and goes to cultural cleansing. I have fond memories of the circus from childhood, my children’s childhood and now the grand kids. And we are going to the Snake River Stampede later this week.

    You can talk about good treatment of animals and I will support you. But if the “work” of animals is mistreatment in and of itself then you’re attempting to remake our society, people, and culture in your vision. I reject it.

    BTW, while Cirque du Soleil is surely a fine venue I hear there are no animals and thus no circus. By definition a circus is a performance of acrobats, clowns and trained animals. I watch the acrobats, tolerate the clowns, and cheer and love the animals – they are what makes a circus a circus.

    EDITOR NOTE–FYI, In 2012, in Las Vegas alone, 53 performers in Cirque shows were injured, causing a total of 918 missed workdays. There was also a fatality in 2013. Abuse?

  33. Lorraine Guptill
    Jul 12, 2015, 5:24 pm

    What a mixed and somewhat confusing bag of comments. Firstly, lets clear up any concerns that there maybe about my health, I have never been informed that I need to eliminate gluten from my diet, that said, the less that I eat of it the better I feel. I have for many years been very conscious of the food I use to fuel my body with, eating clean and compassionately, but lets not get into that or eating organically or my avoidance of GMO’s as I can only imagine where that may lead us!

    The issue at hand is animals in the circus. I have as you already must know ( hence the strong push to get me to answer ) a big opinion about Zoo’s but it is not what we are trying to accomplish here. To say that I can’t focus on the circus, which that alone is a huge task in itself without adding zoo’s etc is to say that I can’t support The Shriner’s Children’s Hospital and raise awareness on their great works and raise funds to support them because I am not adding St Jude’s to the fund raiser.

    It is obvious that I care about all animals and their plight of sharing a world with humans so its ridiculous to accuse me of caring for only the circus. There are countless wrongs that need to be corrected in our world, some I fear will never be made right, some may happen but probably not for me to see. History has shown time and time again that we humans are very slow learners and have such a hard recognizing things that we are doing wrong and then opening up to change. I do rejoice that we no longer burn witches at the stakes or flock into arenas to watch gladiator’s battle to the death for entertainment.

    Could someone explain too, why because I don’t show indifference to suffering that I am labeled a “Wacko animal lover”, seriously, wacko, where I admit I am a lover, a lover of many things not just animals, I disagree with the wacko bit, perhaps though my family will argue that point and agree with you Eastener! Correct me too Eastener but are you not letting on that you obtained a certain flyer that was handed out at the circus ( walking 50 miles a day J) You also seriously can’t believe that these circus animals get to roam in acres of plush land in the short period of time they are off the road. Are you going to protest the zoo? Tj is a good man, I am going to put my trust in him to keep a close eye on and advocate for changes in Zoo Boise. Perhaps you would lead that while we lead this, join forces and work together. You also mentioned boredom in the zoo…..kinda like this, the kind that drives animals crazy, here is some classic neurotic behavior from last months circus. Here is also one of the latest from the Jordan World circus

    Eaglewriter, I am beyond confused (do I suspect you to use that against me, I sure do) So you oppose bad treatment of animals and want to ban the zoo, yet you support a long list which includes the circus….very confusing indeed and respectfully you lost me at SEAWORLD, come on a lifetime in a bathtub is not good treatment at all.

    We can go back and forth in disagreement, watching videos and reviewing laws or the lack of them. Yes I am fully aware that the circus is regulated by AWA which is enforced by the USDA, who’s inspections are maybe once a year, good for the circus, not so for the animals. Many years ago I worked in a nursing home who too were regulated by the state, who were also infrequently inspected, again being there daily and seeing what happens behind closed doors, good for the home not for the patients.

    The life of animals in the circus is coming to an end. Eyes around the world have opened, slowly but opening for sure and banning this cruel and ancient practice. Cities across the nation are joining them and we as a civilized city should freely choose this action instead of being told we have to cause other cites lead us there, let us take the lead.

    So, come on , let us strive to improve these animals life’s, free them from suffering, join with those of us who are striving to make change’s and stop arguing just for the sake of it. Together we can make this happen in Boise, it would be easier with your help!

    EDITOR NOTE–Lest we forget, the GUARDIAN is MY blog and I included the zoo in the headline, hence the discussion. There are no doubt some bad zoos just like bad circuses. We find it worthy of discussion–if not hypocritical–to offer a blanket opposition to circuses while condoning zoos. It is the abuse and mistreatment that is bad, regardless of the venue.

  34. Eagle Writer
    Jul 12, 2015, 7:18 pm

    To be clear, I love the zoo. If I wrote anything else it was a mistype, but I don’t believe I did.

    Lorraine, sorry I lost you at Seaworld – but that is my point, you oppose life in water for fish. That just seems strange. And it is my point, precisely – it’s not about good treatment of circus animals, it’s about ending all animal performances. It’s about outlawing ownership (enslaving) of animals.

    The slippery slope, the gradual outlawing of everything we do and value and hold dear.

  35. look people are jibber jabbering about jibber jabber

  36. I am very familiar with what a veterinarian is. In fact if you recall in the 2nd video I posted it includes Dr Mel Richardson who is a Captive Wildlife Veterinarian with 40 years of experience with elephants. He was also in the documentary “An Apology to Elephants. “He talks about the training of baby elephants known as “breaking the spirit” as well as the use of bull hooks. Also featured in the documentary is the late Pat Derby who was a co-founder of the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). She ran a sanctuary in northern California for elephants until her death in 2013. She is the one featured in the HOW TO TRAIN AN ELEPHANT video you posted. (I should have made myself clearer. I was actually asking for a video demonstrating training an elephant circus tricks.) Unfortunately, the method she is using in that video cannot be used in training a circus elephant tricks. It is a method known as protected contact which allows you to work with an elephant for things such as cleaning the feet without sharing the same space as an elephant which would be free contact. Free contact is what circus’ use. In fact, I dare say, your implication that It could be used to train an elephant to do circus tricks would more than likely cause Pat to roll in her grave as she was a strong advocate against the use of elephants as well as other animals in the circus. In fact, PAWS, the organization she co-founded with her husband, have organized demonstrations against the Shriners Circus in California. And if you are wondering how she would feel about circus’s vs zoos, she answered that question in the documentary by saying “you can fix a zoo but you can’t fix a circus, there is no way. But there are zoos who get it.” She gave kudos to the Oakland zoo which has a large roaming area and uses protected contact. They do not use bull hooks. In fact, Jeff Kinzley, the elephant manager at the Oakland zoo had this to say about training elephants for the circus. “A breaking down period goes on. Breaking the spirit of the animal to control them. At that really young age, they just control them through fear. And the way you get the fear is physical discipline. It’s just horrible, the elephants live in fear their whole lives. There is no happy moment for them because they are just waiting for the next beating. That’s why they stay in line. That’s why they stay cooperative.”
    I shared this video earlier. Information on how to train an elephant in this video was provided by the general manager of Ringlings elephant farm Gary Jacobson and an elephant trainer named Samuel Haddock. I can’t imagine the training is going to differ greatly from Shriners to Ringling.
    And finally the video about nosey that I shared is talking about arthritis (not a skin condition )which is painful in and of itself. It is that much more painful when you add in performing tricks and giving rides.

  37. I grow weary of the if you want to see a circus see Cirque De Soliel argument. OK, if you want an orange, how about I give you lemon. Apparently when you asked for orange what you really meant was anything citrus will do.

    The Zoo enslaves animals and hides behind their philanthropic efforts of education and conservation, and then asks for tax money to support their efforts. The Shrine Circus also provides educational opportunities, there is a petting zoo as part of the Shrine Circus not unlike any zoo, and the proceeds from the Shrine Circus support the Shrine hospitals for children who have been burned or otherwise injured and can not afford medical care.

    While I don’t support either a circus or the zoo, I am confused why the Zoo gets a pass while the circus is demonized. The arguments that describe the circus, apply to the Zoo, even if on a smaller scale, but the result is the same, both captivate animals for the viewing pleasure of humans.

  38. Foothills Rider
    Jul 13, 2015, 10:34 am

    Research any activity and find abuses. The same fight can be launched against youth sports or so many other things, for crying out loud. ABUSE should not be tolerated no matter. Please separate the stage from the issue at hand.

    Some here reference Cirque du Soleil.

    Look up Joe Putignano as just one example of someone who pushes beyond what is healthy for YOUR pleasure (and his livelihood). Cirque is known for its European acrobats; many subject to stringent diets; many are chain-smokers and drinkers to alleviate/escape the stresses of their jobs. Some are hooked on drugs (starting perhaps as pain remedies due to injuries from their craft) or other unhealthy habits. All for your pleasure and dollar. Many are foreigners on contracts with little choice. Where is the outrage?

  39. Lorraine Guptill
    Jul 13, 2015, 10:47 am

    I am not disagreeing with anyone about the circus and zoo’s.I agree, I see a possibility of ending life in captivity for the circus animals in Boise by choice not by a nationwide ban which will come in time.My hopes for zoo’s are that there conditions are monitored, that the animals are given bigger enclosures,taken out of their cages etc etc etc…. Closing down zoo’s are not going to happen, indifference blinds the majority.I think some want to believe that this will lead to banning everything animal related things out there, we all know that will never happen, but lets put the fear in everyone so that they can prevent something that is possible from happening. I don’t need to throw anyone under the bus, my dealings with Tj have me believing in his integrity and his vision, give him the chance to do this and then tackle any issues you have with the Boise Zoo to make it a better place.
    The Shrine Circus doesn’t raise funds for the children’s hospital….just so you know!

  40. Suzi believes, “At that really young age, they just control them through fear. And the way you get the fear is physical discipline. It’s just horrible, the elephants live in fear their whole lives. There is no happy moment for them because they are just waiting for the next beating. That’s why they stay in line. That’s why they stay cooperative.”

    Suzi, could you please contact my mother about this. I still live in fear of her. My fear of her TODAY is the only reason I am not a criminal- It is amazing how fear works on US animals. Nosey and I both live in fear. It’s HORRIBLE!

    Lorrainne, asks, “You also seriously can’t believe that these circus animals get to roam in acres of plush land in the short period of time they are off the road. Are you going to protest the zoo?”

    Ringling Brothers has a 200 acre facility in Florida- so there is at least that one. You can see it on Google Maps if you take a second to learn about the issue. Florida in the winter sounds pretty plush to me- much better than a giraffe in a box in Boise’s subzero inversion. 🙂
    ON that note, imagine if ZooBoise let their big animals run out south of town every once in awhile (and little animals too).

    I already PROTEST the ZOO, Lorraine. I don’t go there (well, there was that 1 time to release the monkeys).

  41. Eagle Writer
    Jul 13, 2015, 11:38 am

    Lorraine, please understand that your view that “… indifference blinds the majority,” is the scariest thing written on these pages.

    I believe I am in the majority on this issue and I am neither indifferent nor blinded.

    Zoos are tradeoffs. I support them, and my kids and grandkids learn about the exotics. They also learn about poachers and the illegal ivory and animal trade. I think this is good. I think it not blindly, not with indifference, but determinedly and with educated thought.

    A circus is different than a zoo, but I could paste the paragraph above here too.

  42. The Boise Zoo property is perfect for development of an exclusive apartment or office complex. Lots of free money being offered by the Mayor and friends for this type of development.

    Clearly the Zoo is a holdover from a generation not bothered by the cruelty, or confederate flags either. Mayor! You must build a new publicly financed complex on this unholy ground! Go ahead, take our money, we don’t care what it costs.

  43. Granted, they are still doing stupid animal tricks, but this Ryan guy seems nice and honest:

  44. Heather Steele
    Jul 13, 2015, 12:56 pm

    First of all, as a mother, I feel I do have the right to have concerns about what our children are exposed to. To say that you want to continue to do something out of tradition, even after learning that part of that tradition involves abuse of animals, seems completely close minded when through the centuries there have been plenty of traditions that have been disbanded due to wrongful, violent, abusive, acts. If you think animal abuse is wrong, why would you go to something knowing that, that’s part of the show? Just because of tradition? As a society we have progressed & through progression we have known things were wrong in the past & we had the power to make it right. We want to better our society, not accept things just because it’s always been that way. So we continue to strive for the betterment of mankind. We have the freedom to stick up for what we feel is right. We are not trying to take away your freedoms, your missing the point! The circus’ that you go to because of the freedom you have, is abusing & neglecting animals, I don’t understand how that doesn’t affect you, but it affects me & I’m taking my right as a citizen to say it’s wrong! Your gradual outlaw of everything is a bit exaggerated! I personally want to outlaw those things that are violent. I guess that makes me wrong in your eyes somehow & I don’t have time to waste worrying about what you think of our cause. It’s not worth the argument because it’s apparently a never ending one. But now I’m going to let it go because it’s not worth it. I will proudly continue what I do with the like minded people that I’m proud to know.

  45. Lorrain, check out this video of people waterboarding two elephants…those guys probably work for the CIA, or maybe USDA “Where is Dumbo? Tell us!”

    And notice how they wobble back and forth. It’s so sad.

    And then there are those videos of elephants wobbling to violin music= audio cruelty.

    EDITOR NOTE–C’mon East, you’r gonna get busted for on-line abuse. Be at least a little tolerant. She may not have the same
    glasses as you (point of view).

  46. Eagle Writer
    Jul 13, 2015, 8:23 pm

    Heather, of course as a mother you have the right to choose your children’s exposure to the world. I shouldered arms to protect that right.

    But your statement “…The circus’ that you go to because of the freedom you have, is abusing & neglecting animals, I don’t understand how that doesn’t affect you,” shows a very closed mind. It doesn’t affect me because I do not believe it involves abuse, not because I don’t care about abuse.

    I don’t believe properly regulated dog racing, horse racing, rodeo, or circuses are abuse. I don’t know how old you are, but I remember the early neo-feminists pushing the theory that ALL male-female sex was rape and abuse. They redefined the act (sex) to that meaning in their literature. Understand that mainstream feminists rejected that definition and it never caught hold.

    My point is that if you define circuses as animal abuse acts, then there simply is no discussion to have.

    On another note, I don’t know if your “tradition” comment was for me or not, but I think I wrote about our culture, not traditions.

  47. You realize if we were writing about an orphanage, a homeless shelter, a mental lock-up, a refugee camp, the wrongfully imprisoned (America has more than China), or the inner city core of any one of 30 American cities… or any other type of situation debating human suffering… you realize there would be about 6 comments… and none from the soft caring feminists and neutered men either.

    TJ, stick to city business please when wearing your city badge.

  48. Ruth Martin
    Jul 14, 2015, 5:48 pm

    “But for the use of physical punishment by, and fear of, their oppressors, animals would never be a part of a circus.” – Richard Pryor

    I have a hard time grasping that people truly believe that there isn’t cruelty involved when forcing elephants to say, stand on their heads, or tigers to jump through hoops of fire. Do they honestly believe that these animals will do such unnatural acts simply for a treat, or to ‘please their handlers’?! They are not domesticated dogs, they are wild animals. I’m really blown away at the misguidance of people believing that these animals do this without being forced. The truth is on the internet. There isn’t any grey area here. It is out and out slavery and it’s barbaric. (I would love to see videos of positive reinforcement training of these wild animals. Please share any that you have).

    Also, know that elephants do not ‘dance’. The swaying they exhibit is a stereotypic behavior due to stress, frustration and desolation. (If you have video of elephants exhibiting this behavior in the wild, {not a Thailand Sanctuary or the like, but in the wild}. I would love to see them).

    And let’s put cruelty and oppression of these animals aside for a minute. (Not that it should ever be).

    There are 2 other issues here at play. One being that some elephants have tested positive for the human strain of TB. One of the reasons why Ringling’s is phasing all it’s elephants out by 2018.

    The other is that you are putting your family at risk every time you attend, as at any given moment, these animals, do, and have, snapped. On the second part of 1st video I posted there was a Mom and 4 children on the elephants back when (s)he went a rampage. They were okay, the elephant shot and killed. (The video is of only 2 incidents, and there are hundreds)Many people have been killed when these animals, and understandably so, go berserk.

    Just today 3 circus elephants went on a rampage in Denmark. Another incident that happened today, an extremely frightened elephant, in attempting to do an unnatural, and indignant, ‘trick’, fell off the ladder (s)he was forced to climb, landing on his/her back into the audience. It’s also posted below. These unnecessary incidents and deaths happen. More often than most know, or would like to believe, I’m sure. There will be more tragedies if someone doesn’t take a stand to end the unnecessary use of exotics in circuses.

    I could attach many more links of circus animals injuring and killing people, but I would hope that realizing that it can/and does happen, would get people on board to stop this unnecessary and dangerous use of such beautiful and intelligent animals and at the very least to no longer attend. These animals so don’t belong in a circus. Please do some research folks and learn about what goes on behind the curtains and also how incredible these beings are to watch in the wild, where they belong. There are links on google where you can watch live video feed of just that.

    And just an FYI. The monies collected from circus ticket sales, do not go to the Shriner’s Hospitals. (bottom link)

    Excerpt from that link;
    ‘Every exhibitor of Shrine-leased animals has failed to meet minimal federal standards under the Animal Welfare Act for the care of animals used in the circus. However, the Shriners are able to avoid responsibility and scrutiny by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and local animal control because the Shriners do not own the animals used in their shows.’

  49. Lorraine Guptill
    Jul 14, 2015, 7:58 pm
  50. Lorraine Guptill
    Jul 14, 2015, 8:05 pm

    Still think they should be performing these unnatural acts to entertain?

  51. Lorraine Guptill
    Jul 14, 2015, 8:05 pm
  52. Ruth believes, “The truth is on the internet.”

    That’s funny Ruth!

    Guardian, Ruth’s comment was the ++circus money++ does not go to the hospitals. That’s understandable. But publicity for the Shiners from the Shriners Circus certainly helps with publicity and exposure to the name… it is just like advertising.

  53. So then what?

    Imagine PETA gets their way and all animals are excluded from the circus (and zoos, and entertainment).

    Animal owners then end up having to pay enormous care expenses for these animals without any (less) revenue sources.

    Guess what happens then?
    Many of the animals will likely be euthanized.
    So a dead elephant is better than a circus elephant apparently?

    Unintended consequences of misguided activism. Happens all the time.

  54. There are animal sanctuaries ready, willing and begging to take these animals in. And plenty of people willing to donate to their care.

  55. Eagle Writer
    Jul 16, 2015, 1:56 pm

    Suzi, that’s great. Now, if we can get the sanctuaries to train the animals to do cool tricks, and trailer them to cities where we can see them perform we might be on to something. We could add some clowns and swinging gymnasts and have a whole show.

    Oh, oh, wait, we have that now and call them circuses.

    I fully support sanctuaries, but they are very classist. Poor, city kids will never get to see them, and they have limited entertainment value.

    The city zoo, county rodeo, and traveling circus are tremendous opportunities for kids to gain exposure to the animal world, and they are indelibly etched into our culture and traditions.

  56. Suzi, your “ready and able” sanctuaries includes TWO non-cirucs sanctuaries. Keep in mind those “sanctuaries” are approved and inspected by the same USDA you and other circus-haters are accusing of being inadequate.

    PAWS in California is 100 acres, and already has a plentiful herd. How do you think they will handle a sudden influx of expelled circus (& zoo) elephants?

    The ES in TN has a 2700 acres fenced area. Apparently it has 2 African elephants for its African pen so I suppose it can handle a few more. It has quite a few Asians in their large Asian pen.
    It is cool that you can actually see an elephant (or three) in the Google images. Although they are not together in a happy herd so it’s kinda like looking for an elephant in haystack… Ha! And ES has webcams- I just checked it out and ONE elephant was posing for a few minutes and then walked off. I think that elephant was named “Lonesome Lucy”. When TJ

    PAWS 2014 ‘regular donations’ were less than their expenses. In 2013, they lost money. In 2014, had it not been for 1-time bequests they would have lost money.
    The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, had decreased revenue in 2013 from 2012. (2014 info not available online yet)

    Suzi, those “plenty of people willing to donate” better step up their game and their checkbooks if you get your way. That will be a LOT of hay.
    The Director of ES gets about $100K a year, so maybe if you really like elephants that could be a worthwhile job.

    EDITOR NOTE–an unintelligible sentence was edited out of this comment.

  57. While the horse is still warm — a couple things on TJ’s comments:

    He says “Zoo animals rarely come from the wild”– not true.
    There are many wild animals that are injured and turned into zoos for care and the animal stays there due to the injury. The bald eagle at ZooBoise is one example.
    Some elephants come to zoos from the wild because they are orphaned when African “officials” killed the adults to cull the herd. Both the African elephants at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee were BORN in the wild- that’s in AFRICA, TJ. The Asian elephants were also born in the wild and either came to the ES directly from a circus/private owner of via a zoo.

    The whole California Condor recovery was based on TAKING the remaining WILD birds from the wild and protect them in a zoo.
    Point is- inaccurate statements make the whole “campaign” inaccurate.

    TJ says “Zoos are heavily regulated and held to mandated standards”.
    Yes, by the same people regulating and making the standards for the circus. There are zoos closed down due to unsuitable conditions. That shows the enforcement- it also proves zoos deteriorate to that condition- just like exotic animal trainers/owners. Wow, zoos and a circus sound VERY similar for the animals care!

    TJ wants to “view exotic animals in a zoo, sanctuary, or in the wild.”

    Well, most children in Boise can’t afford to go on an African safari; so that’s not reasonable. Going to Texas on a big game reserve hunt is also too expensive.

    So a Sanctuary?
    The Elephant Sanctuary in TN doesn’t allow the public to visit the elephants.
    The National Elephant Center in Florida, doesn’t allow visitors.
    PAWS in California has “field trips” available for $250 per person. $800 for a two-dayer.

    The PAWS facility is just a big zoo – with limited hours and expensive admission. Imagine Eagle Island State Park having elephants and charging $250 for a tour of the pasture with 6 elephants. Makes me think of Jurassic Park.
    Riddles’ Elephant Sanctuary in Arkansas has weekend field trips for $700 (over age 18 only, sorry kids). …Pretty much the same – pastures for pachyderms. Cow or elephants? The only difference is the height of the fence.

    Google map (the internet) has the truth about these place. These places can be seen from the sky- pretty easy to see the fences.

    There are a couple schools near the PAWS zoo, I mean sanctuary. I bet they would be real anxious if the big cats escaped. Oh that won’t happen in an earthquake (nearest city is San Andreas California)… see “zoo animals loose after flood in Tblisi”.

    In reality many real zoos are bigger and more suitable than these ‘unknown’ sanctuaries. NC Zoo for 1 example.

    Sanctuaries (and zoos and circus trainers) are starving for funds. Lack of resources is the exact problem that leads to inadequate animal care.

    So TJ’s soon to be first child will be stuck with only a zoo to see an elephant. Well, maybe TJ can afford $400/day zoo visit.

    Remember when the Copenhagen Zoo killed a healthy giraffe in front of visitors, dissected the giraffe and then fed it to the big cats? And then killed a family of 4 lions, right after the giraffe expose. that was 2014.

    Welcome to the Zoo!

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