Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is currently touring in Southern California, bringing with it a menagerie, and the growing controversy about the suffering of these wild animals. Animal Defenders International (ADI) has been working with Animal Protection and Rescue League, In Defense of Animals, Last Chance for Animals and PETA, to organize massive demonstrations in Los Angeles, Ontario and the current stop, Anaheim.
Advocates often numbering in the hundreds are coming out before each and every Ringling Bros Circus performance to educate circus-goers and let them know that circuses are never a good place for animals. There is nothing extreme about these mainstream protests. Families, students, teachers, lawyers—people from all walks of life—are coming out sharing a message of compassion in multiple languages outside the circus.
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Heartwarming stories have been shared among advocates about circus-going families who huddled up, discussed together and then decided to turn away at the doorstep of the circus after finding out about the abuse. Someone hollers, “We have a U Turn!” Cheers erupt from activists, met with warm smiles from the people leaving to find a better and humane evenings’ entertainment. One group of would-be circus patrons actually picked up signs and joined the protest!
These victories are peppered among the thousands of personal and positive exchanges where a simple act of handing a leaflet or holding a sign can plant a seed of compassion in someone’s mind. And the inspiration comes later when that person may ask themselves the question, “Is a lifetime of suffering involved with making an 8,000 pound wild elephant do something ridiculous like stand on her head, or a tiger jump through a flaming hoop really worth that fleeting moment of entertainment?”
It is a myth that wild animals are trained with kindness and rewards. Years of undercover investigations reveal that the training tools of the circus trade include bullhooks, (a heavy bar with a sharpened point and hook) stun guns and other electric prods, metal bars, whips, deprivation of food and water and intimidation. Large, potentially dangerous and often unwilling or distracted wild animals are routinely the subject of abuse by trainers who demand compliance using pain and punishment. And when wild animals under duress are kept in close proximity to the public, the safety of humans and animals are put at risk.
What you can do:
- Contact your Representative in Congress and ask them to support and co-sponsor the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, TEAPA, (HR 3359), a federal bill ADI introduced with Congressmen Jim Moran (D-VA) and Bill Young (R-FL), which aims to restrict wild animals from traveling circuses in the US. Take one minute to send an automated email today by going to our Break the Chain action alert here.
- Join ADI’s Break the Chain campaign and find out about grassroots action you can take for circus animals wherever you are in the country. Contact our Los Angeles office and ask to be added to our action alert list at email@example.com or call 323-935-2234.
- Help keep our investigators in the field exposing the truth about how animals are treated in circuses. We can’t do it without you. Make a donation today!
Los Angeles area residents:
- Join the protests in Anaheim continuing through Sunday, August 5th at the Honda Center. Check out the Facebook event page for details and protest times.
- Do you live, work or do business in L.A.? Help ADI collect signatures on a petition urging Los Angeles Mayor and City Council to protect wild animals when the circus comes to town. You can sign and circulate an online petition here and collect signatures from Angelenos by downloading and printing a petition here.