Cir­cuses frozen out of Ice Arena

New own­ers adopt pol­icy to bar an­i­mal per­for­mances

The News-Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Kendra Baker

DAN­BURY — The cir­cus is not com­ing to town.

At least not to the Dan­bury’s down­town venue on In­de­pen­dence Way.

The Dan­bury Ice Arena no longer will host an­i­mal cir­cuses. Arena of­fi­cials an­nounced the de­ci­sion with the non­profit an­i­mal ad­vo­cacy or­ga­ni­za­tion Peo­ple for the Eth­i­cal Treat­ment of An­i­mals one day af­ter the Gar­den Bros. Cir­cus held three days’ worth of shows un­der its roof in early April.

The April shows drew protesters, in­clud­ing an­i­mal wel­fare ac­tivists Jill Ali­brandi and Lisa Leigh Haut, who are try­ing to get Dan­bury to ban an­i­mal cir­cuses al­to­gether.

“There was a big is­sue with some of the ex­otic an­i­mals in the cir­cus so we re­ally took some time and re­viewed it, and we de­cided we’re not go­ing to go for­ward with it like that,” said Her­man Sorcher, man­ag­ing gen­eral part­ner at the Dan­bury Ice Arena.

The ice arena, which is un­der new own­er­ship, was “ob­li­gated” to host Gar­den Bros. Cir­cus ear­lier this month as part of an ex­ist­ing con­tract, an ice arena em­ployee said.

PETA worked with the arena’s new owner, Di­a­mond Prop­er­ties,

and per­suaded it to adopt a pol­icy pro­hibit­ing “all an­i­mal cir­cuses from per­form­ing there in the fu­ture,” ac­cord­ing to a PETA news re­lease.

“Di­a­mond Prop­er­ties is proud to align it­self with PETA and its com­mit­ment to an­i­mal rights causes,” Di­a­mond Prop­er­ties co­founder and pres­i­dent Bill Di­a­mond stated in the news re­lease.

Di­a­mond said he has kept track of PETA cam­paigns over the years and be­lieves the or­ga­ni­za­tion has helped ad­vance many “pow­er­ful” causes.

As the new owner of the Dan­bury Ice Arena, he said, Di­a­mond Prop­er­ties is “proud to be part not only of this par­tic­u­lar cause, but

also of the PETA mis­sion in gen­eral.”

Venues and lo­cal­i­ties across the coun­try have can­celed Gar­den Bros. shows or barred the cir­cus from per­form­ing with an­i­mals, ac­cord­ing to PETA.

By de­cid­ing to no longer host an­i­mal cir­cuses like Gar­den Bros., Di­a­mond Prop­er­ties is “ush­er­ing the Dan­bury Ice Arena into a kinder age, when ele­phants and camels will no longer be threat­ened into per­form­ing cir­cus tricks un­der its roof,” said Rachel Mathews, PETA Foun­da­tion deputy direc­tor.

The ice arena isn’t the first venue in Dan­bury to ban an­i­mal cir­cuses.

Western Con­necti­cut State Uni­ver­sity is­sued a ban in 2001, fol­low­ing years of protests at the O’Neill Cen­ter.

Scott Mullin / For Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Aleta Markham, of New Mil­ford, shows her sign to pass­ing cars at the Pa­triot park­ing garage, protest­ing the Gar­den Brothers Cir­cus shows at the Dan­bury Ice Arena ear­lier this month.

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