Why We Protest the Circus

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Posted February 23, 2006 by Rachelle Owen

Yesterday after work, the entire PETA office emptied out to protest infamous animal abusers Ringling Bros. at their performance here in Norfolk. We flanked all sides of the arena, with protesters covering two blocks on the main street. During our two hours in the freezing cold (seriously, I need to buy some gloves!) we received lots of positive comments, and even got a few people to turn away. One of the best moments of the night was a conversation between Ingrid and a woman who rolled down her window:

Woman: I love Ringling!
Ingrid: Why?
Woman: I don’t know.
Ingrid: You know they beat the elephants?
Woman: Oh.
Ingrid: Watch the video online at
Woman: Thank you. I will. Try to keep warm.

Of all of the issues we campaign about, I think getting animals out of circuses is the one that we can accomplish in our lifetime. Seriously, it’s so painfully apparent that these animals are being exploited in the name of profit; you’d have to be just plain heartless to go to the circus after seeing what they go through. Even 5-year old children know that elephants need room to roam. In the wild, they have acres upon acres to graze with their family, but when they’re captured and forced to perform for Ringling and other animal circuses, they are kept in chains or crammed in trains for a majority of their lives. If that wasn’t bad enough, trainers beat them with sharp metal bullhooks, shock them, whip them … for what? So they’ll do some stupid trick? Are you kidding me? Clowns and carnies should stick to beating and shocking each other rather than animals. I guess they’re too busy being pedophilesfor that, though.

The good news is that we’re making progress. This is my third year protesting the circus in Norfolk, and each year we see a little bit more of the light at the end of the tunnel. More people tearing up their tickets, some even grabbing a sign and standing next to us. This year, for the first time ever, Ringling cancelledtheir idiotic “elephant walk” through Norfolk. They swear it wasn’t because of us. Riiiight. Real believable guys!

Watch this video, and you’ll be as fired up as we are.

Go herefor a list of ideas on how you can help us fight the circus. As one man said to me last night, “Give ’em hell.”


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