Featuring Two Activists, The Co-Founder Of The Elephant Sanctuary & The VP of Corporate Communications at Feld Entertainment/Ringling

GUEST: Scott Blais, Suzanne House, Stephen Payne, Bryan Wilson–Panel Discussion About Ringling Circus

Every year since we launched “Talking Animals” in Southern California in 2003, we’ve devoted at least one show annually to spotlighting the plight of the Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey circus animals, pegged to Ringling’s local engagement–the Tampa stint opened tonight. 8784_421275797941134_437513287_nFor this edition of “Talking Animals,” I convened two Florida activists who have protested the circus, and planned to again: Suzanne House, board member of Florida Voices for Animals, and Bryan Wilson, Central Florida coordinator of Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. The panel also featured Scott Blais, co-founder of The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, TN, and Stephen Payne, vice-president of corporate communications at Feld Entertainment, which owns and operates Ringling. It was a spirited discussion, encompassing the training of Ringling elephants, Ringling’s Center For Elephant Conservation (with more than a little conversation about the “Conservation” part of the name, and the Center’s efforts in that regard), the $270,000 fine that Feld/Ringling paid after the USDA found it guilty of several violations of the Animal Welfare Act, the ASPCA’s recent decision to pay Feld/Ringling $9.3 million to settle its portion of the lawsuit Feld filed against the ASPCA and several other welfare organizations, bullhook bans and legislation–existing or pending–that ban, or would ban, performing elephants, such as the one Los Angeles is currently considering, etc. (www.floridavoicesforanimals.org, www.elephants.com, www.animalrightsflorida.org, www.ringling.com)

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COMEDY CORNER: There was no Comedy Corner today

MUSIC: Antibalas’ “Elephant” (excerpt), Tame Impala’s “Elephant,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: King Crimson’s “Elephant Talk”

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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