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The Wednesday, May 14, Chicago Tribune front page has a story headed, "Citing abuse, U.S. seeks to shut circus-animal farm."

Writers Jeff Long and Jon Yates tell us,

"Dozens of elephants, tigers and lions have roamed the grounds outside John Cuneo's McHenry County circus training facility for decades. For the last 10 years, allegations of animal abuse have stalked closely behind.

"Now, federal authorities want to revoke his company's license after inspectors cited 47 violations of the Animal Welfare Act, from failing to cut elephants' toenails to improperly treating an elephant suffering from severe chemical burns and a bacterial infection.

"Inspectors found one elephant so thin that its hips and spine were protruding, and another alleged to have been abused during training, according to court papers."

There is good news:

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture is looking to shut down his business, Hawthorn Corp., for good."

There is a quote from PETA's Debby Leahy: "We think it's pretty obvious that these animals are in a state of unrelieved suffering. We'd love to see the animals seized."

You can read the full story online at:,4826333.story

This front page story presents a perfect opportunity for letters to the editor, not just about this particular facility, but questioning the use of captive wild animals for circus entertainment in an enlightened society.

Always include your full name, address and telephone number when sending a

letter to the editor.

The PETA website has lots of information on circus animal abuse. You'll find information specifically on Cuneo's Hawthorn corporation, the focus of this Chicago Tribune article, at:

That page tells the heartbreaking story of Lota, one of Cuneo's victims, and provides contact information for letters to the USDA asking for aggressive prosecution so that Lota and the other inmates can be released to sanctuaries.

You will also find information on the Cuneo/Hawthorn case at:

Yours and the animals',

Karen Dawn

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it at To subscribe to DawnWatch, email [email protected] and tell me you'd like to receive alerts. If at any time you find DawnWatch is not for you, just let me know via email and I'll take you off the subscriber list immediately. If you forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts, please do so unedited and include this tag line.)
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