From Ginny Sherlock, renowned local attorney, civic activist, and former Associated Press editor: Kudos to Ashley Geiger for organizing the protest at the Martin County Fairgrounds yesterday against the cruel treatment of tigers on display at the Martin County Fair.
The tigers are kept in very small cages, unable to move around freely, when they are not being jabbed and poked in the throat and face to make them perform feats for the “entertainment” of humans.
Dozens of protesters peacefully assembled for several hours yesterday afternoon on the walkway for fair-goers departing the Fairgrounds. Many passers-by thanked protesters for their presence and said they did not attend the tiger show or were disgusted by it.
Passing vehicles honked in support with thumbs-up from drivers and passengers as protesters waved and held up signs.
The tiger show is billed as “Nerger’s Splendid Tigers”, an old-school circus act that features a dozen tigers which are forced to jump through flaming hoops, form pyramids, play leapfrog, and “dance.” Judit and Juergen Nerger, German tiger trainers who worked in circuses throughout eastern Europe for nearly 30 years before coming to the United States, perform at fairs and festivals throughout the country.
The Nergers are employed by John Cuneo’s Hawthorn Corporation, a group with a history of severe animal abuse that leases exotic animal acts to traveling circuses. Hawthorn has racked up over $272,000 in federal fines and had its license suspended twice for more than 100 Animal Welfare Act violations, including failure to provide veterinary care to sick animals, housing pairs of tigers in 6 foot long travel cages for weeks at a time, attacks by tigers on staff (one of which allegedly involved a tiger being beaten with baseball bats), and providing the head and skin of a white tiger to an individual who wanted to make a rug out of the parts.
For more information, visit http://911animalabuse.
Hopefully, the Martin County Fair — which is supposed to feature livestock and farm animals lovingly raised in many cases by local children and members of 4-H Clubs – will not bring in “circus acts” in the future or give tacit approval to animal cruelty like that which is exhibited by the tiger show. See below for the WPTV-Channel 5 news report on yesterday’s protest.