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John Hickenlooper asked by PETA to take mercy on Barnum & Bailey's elephants: Fat chance

Now, in the center ring, Denver mayor John Hickenlooper is about to get a chance to show mercy to elephants -- even if, as the Democratic candidate for governor, Hickenlooper has Republicans on the run in Colorado (with a major assist from the sideshow of Tom Tancredo's candidacy).

Turns out other elephants are in need of help. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is heading to town, and in advance of the circus train arriving in Denver tomorrow, PETA -- the very busy People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, including elephants -- has appealed to Hickenlooper, asking him to prevent the circus from forcing four elephants suffering from lameness and arthritis to do painful stunts. (Sounds kind of like watching Dan Maes debate.)

"Forcing elephants to perform uncomfortable tricks and painful contortions despite the animals' ill health is cruel -- and it could be a death sentence," PETA director Debbie Leahy said in a prepared announcement. "Because Ringling won't take proper care of these elephants, we are asking Mayor Becker to use his authority to protect them."

Um, Mayor Becker? We know a lot of people are lining up to run for mayor if/when Hickenlooper moves into the State Capitol, but we haven't heard of any Becker.

Looks like PETA has a national campaign going. Then again, the Republican National Committee did, too. It's working really well here in Colorado, a state where elephants are badly in need of some new tricks.

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