Circus Brings Protests

Circus Brings Protests

by Melissa Wagner

YAKIMA – A circus is setting up at the Sundome. And if you’re planning on taking your kids we wanted to know just how safe this is.

The Jordan World Circus has a history of tickets from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Anytime a circus rolls into town it is expected that a lot of people are concerned about the way the animals are treated. So we wanted to know what does the Sundome do to research these groups who use their facilities?

Sundome Assistant General Manager, Greg Lybeck said, ” We’re pretty diligent about finding out who wants to come into our building and who we’re working with before we enter into a contract.”

Lybeck tells Action News he makes calls to other facilities that have hosted shows, to find out if anything went wrong. We found that Jordan World Circus has citations dating back to 1993.

The most recent was for allowing a black bear posing for pictures without any restraints. An elephant escaped for 15 minutes before a show in Michigan. And a camel was transported in a trailer with poor ventilation. I talked with a tiger trainer at Jordan who says all animal acts are subcontracted, so each performer must have an exhibitor license, and a USDA license. She says USDA investigators show up regularly, and find something just about every time. Tammy Wallenda, a tiger trainer with Jordan said, “I gave my tiger an expensive vitamin but because my vet didn’t have that vitamin listed, she had a cheaper brand, I was written up for that one time.”

She says most citations are minor and can be fixed during that visit. She says they don’t want to work with shady subcontractors. Wallenda said, ” If someone is bad they have a reputation in our business as well and we don’t want them in the business either.”

Jordan World Circus performed at the Sundome ten years ago. No problems, no protestors. And the Sundome hopes for another successful show.

PETA continues to protest all circus performances, and it’s not just Jordan World Circus they’ve targeted, they also go after Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey. The Sundome doesn’t expect protestors to take a stand at their show, but are prepared if it should happen.

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