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Mexican circus workers protest new ban on animals in shows

Clowns and other performers protest a ban on animals in circuses in Mexico City. (Rebecca Blackwell/Associated Press)

More than 1,000 acrobats, clowns and other circus workers marched through downtown Mexico City on Tuesday to protest a ban on animals in circuses.

There can be no lions, tigers or bears in circus rings under a law passed in the city legislature Monday.

Circus performers say the law will leave both animals and humans without jobs.

“Hundreds of families are going to be out of work,” said Julio Cesar Ramirez, 33, a blue-suited clown and fourth-generation circus worker. “This is a tradition that goes back 250 years.”

Armando Cedeno, president of the national circus association, said the measure will affect about 50,000 circus workers and more than 3,000 animals, including camels and horses.

Cedeno said that the animals are treated well and that they are brought up in an atmosphere where performing is a type of play.

But supporters of the measure say the nonstop training, constant traveling and frequent performances hurt the animals.

— Associated Press

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