I have spent the last couple of days in wonderful Charleston, West Virginia. I like this town because the people who live here are so nice. It is so different from the typical fast-paced feeling of a bigger city. Along with some of the most laid-back people you will ever meet, you will also experience some of the strangest and funniest moments that will make you say to yourself, â€œWTF?â€?
I came to Charleston because Ringling Bros. circus was in town. No, I wasnâ€™t going to the show, I was here to document the elephants and how poorly they are treated. My fellow co-worker, RaeLeann, and I found out where the Ringling train was going to stop and unload the elephants for the walk to the Convention Center. We did not have an exact time when the train was going to arrive so we parked near the location to monitor the tracks and wait, and wait, and wait. Anyway, long story short, I went to the restroom at the local farmers market and as I went to wash my hands, this older man met me. As we said â€œhelloâ€? to each other, he began to take off his pants. Yes, he was taking off his pants next to me as I was washing my hands. As his pants hit the floor and he stood their in a pair of very dirty boxer shorts, he says to me, â€œitâ€™s pretty crazy what happened at that schoolâ€? â€“ I replied, â€œyes, it is very sad and horrible,â€? the whole time thinking â€˜what you are doing right now is pretty crazy.â€™
Speaking of crazy, we all know that Ringling beats their elephants with a heavy stick that has very sharp points at the end called bullhooks. This is nothing new but we now hear from activists in California, who are working on the The Elephant Protection Act, AB 777 which will make the use of bullhooks illegal, that Ringling is claiming in the Californian legislature that their weapons of torture donâ€™t have hooks on the end. I guess they think the general public is not very intelligent. To see what big liars this would make them, check out the video footage I filmed just this week and let me know what you think. Does Ringling use sharp-tipped bullhooks or not?
On a lighter note, I met two of the most wonderful people ever. Archele Hundley and Garrison Christianson, they are two ex-Ringling employees who witnessed Ringling animal trainers beat elephants on a daily basis. In fact, they witnessed a Ringling animal trainer beat an elephant with a bullhook for nearly forty-five minutes, swinging the bullhook like a baseball bat. After witnessing this bloody beating and other abuses, they complained and reported these abuses to Ringling management. They were ignored by Ringling management and told; if you do not like it leave. Archele did just that, left Ringling and came straight to PETA to report this abuse.
Since both of these two wonderful people happen to be residents of Charleston we wanted to let everyone know of their stories. Cue Ringling Bros. opening night and an awesome PETA protest. Archele and Garrison were awesome, it was their first protest ever and they were both rock stars. We reached a ton of people, some even turned around and left after hearing how Ringling abuses the animals in their â€˜careâ€™ â€“ Two TV news channels came out to cover the demo. It was an awesome week in Charleston, West Virginia.
This may have only been a couple of days in one town but hear me now: Ringling, I am coming after you.
â€“ Stay tuned for more updates and donâ€™t forget to visit Circuses.com and dont forget to hit the streets!