I was dismayed to learn that the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus is returning to Humboldt County. They have a long history of failing to meet minimum federal standards for the care of animals as established in the Animal Welfare Act. The USDA has cited them several times for failing to provide animals with shelter from the elements, enough space to make normal postural adjustments, and proper veterinary care. In 2008, USDA confiscated a severely malnourished tiger cub for failing to provided adequate shelter and food. In 2011, the USDA banned their license for six months. Some general facts on circuses: 11 months a year the animals are subject to long distance travel in box cars with no climate control; they are trained using extreme discipline such as shocking with electrical prods; and while the USDA sets minimum care standards, most itinerary stops aren’t inspected. Circuses perpetuate an outdated attitude that wild animals are ours to use at any cost to their welfare. Today our children learn early in school, and through television programs that wild animals live complex and fascinating lives, and have natural instincts, developed over thousands of years. When circuses portray unnatural images of how wild animals live and act, this only creates a greater disconnect between people and animals. Some alternatives: the Sequoia Park Zoo is AZA accredited, which means it meets the highest standards of animal care and conservation. HSU has a human only circus club.