John Di Leonardo, LION's president and anthrozoologist, was formerly the Long Island Day Programs Manager for the agency Independence Residences, Inc., an organization benefiting people with developmental disabilities.
Diagnosed with ADHD in middle school and majoring in psychology in college, John's advocacy for humans predates his advocacy for nonhumans.
Julie Cappiello, LION's vice president, comes from circus heritage and a family with special needs.
A descendant of The Flying Concellos, dubbed the most famous aerialist act in circus history, and grand-niece of Art Concello, former owner of the Cole Bros. circus, Julie is determined to stop the abuse that marks her family's history.
A History of Exploitation
Many animal circuses, including Barnum and Bailey’s Ringling Bros. Circus, started their operations through the exploitation of humans with disabilities. Now that this is no longer tolerated, they have continued to profit through the abuse of nonhuman animals.
While we are thankful that today human side-shows have gone out of fashion and organizations now exist to protect those with special needs from those who aim to exploit them, we are also aware that many agencies encourage their individuals with special needs to visit these same circuses that once exploited people like them and still exploit animals such as lions, tigers, and elephants.
LION’s Coalition against Human And Nonhuman Circus Exploitation (CHANCE) is made up of a cooperative of individuals serviced by or employed by agencies benefiting people with special needs looking to educate about and advocate against the use of animals in circuses.
The goal of LION’s CHANCE is to cease this practice through the active education and dissemination of literature about animal circuses to agencies servicing those with special needs, the individuals they serve, and their families.
If you would like to learn more or receive materials to share with your friends or agency,
please contact info@HumaneLongIsland.org.
(We have materials suited for a wealth of developmental ages!)