Thursday, 4:30 PM
Animal welfare activists say ad rejected by billboard company
(David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)
The elephants from the circus lumber down Memorial Drive on their way to the TD Banknorth Garden.
By Globe Staff
Animal welfare activists say a sign company rejected their request to put an ad critical of the treatment of circus elephants on a mobile billboard.
Nicole Paquette, general counsel for the Sacramento, Calif.-based Animal Protection Institute, said the company, Alternative Outdoor Advertising of Framingham, told the activists that the ad would traumatize children.
A message left at the sign company offices wasn't immediately returned.
The animal welfare activists are planning to hold a news conference tomorrow, which is the day the Ringling Bros.and Barnum & Bailey Circus will open here.
Paquette's group and other animal welfare organizations are suing the circus in federal court in Washington, alleging that the Asian elephants in the circus are treated cruelly and that their treatment is a violation of the Endangered Species Act. The legal battle has been going on for four years.
Stephen Payne, a spokesman for Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, denied the allegations, saying they were "completely unfounded and unsupported."
He said the circus's animal care team spends 24 hours a day with the animals, they get good veterinary care, and "visitors who come to the circus can see firsthand how well the animals are treated."
He also said the treatment of the animals is monitored by local, state and federal authorities.