The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
makes a four-day stop
next month at the Scottrade Center, and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay
will be waiting.
In a blog post
Wednesday, the mayor wrote that he met this week with RaeLeann Smith
, a representative of PETA, who showed him some "disturbing" footage allegedly showing circus handlers mistreating elephants.
"Because I only heard one side of the story, I am not going to draw any conclusions," writes Slay in his blog. "But, I have asked the City's Health Department to reach out to Ringling Bros. before they arrive here for a scheduled performance next month and discuss the welfare of all circus animals, including the elephants. In addition, Health Department staffers will conduct inspections of the animals' conditions before the circus's performance - and an Animal Care Officer will be present on site from the time the animals are up and fed in the mornings until they are bedded down at night."
The mayor adds that Ringling Bros. has defended its treatment of animals and writes the he doesn't assume they don't. "But, asking the Health Department to monitor the animals will ensure that everyone -- people and animals -- enjoy their stay in St. Louis."