Activists urge USPS to ditch circus stamps

Animal rights activists are lobbying the U.S. Postal Service to stop selling stamps honoring the circus.

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The USPS this year unveiled a limited edition set of stamps based on vintage stamp posters, including from Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

But the more than 60,000 signers of a petition calling for the Postal Service to scrap the stamps say they do little more than lionize abusers of elephants and other animals.

“Compassion is among the better American traits. Have a heart,” the petition states. “Animal circuses aren't needed, and certainly shouldn't be celebrated by our government.”

The petition comes as circuses and amusement parks that feature animals have found themselves under increasing pressure. The movie “Blackfish” raised questions about SeaWorld’s handling of killer whales, while Ringling Brothers faced a fine several years ago for its treatment of elephants.

Ringling Brothers, which has a section devoted to animal care on its website, says it "provides the highest standards of care to our animal performers 365 days a year."

In announcing the stamps in May, the USPS said it would honor showmen who brought “joy, wonder and amazement” to crowds around the country.

But the agency also acknowledged that the stamps didn’t come without controversy, after facing protests from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and others.

“While we hope to celebrate the positive contributions of the circus, the Postal Service respects the rights of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and supports their worthy causes to ensure ethical and humane treatment of animals,” the service said. 

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