Kick the Circus out of Richmond!!!!
Richmond Animal Defense League
Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 6:00am
Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 8:00pm
601 E Leigh St
They will be having 11 different showtimes over 4 days, which gives all of us an opportunity to make it out before a show at least once, to hold signs, to pass out leaflets, to try an convince people to not go to the circus and to not expose their children to that type of animal cruelty.
If we go out about an hour before each showing we can probably catch people going in before each show, and convince them not to go in.
If we could also get things like letters to the editor of local papers, press releases etc. written we can make sure that our opposition to the circus get noticed.
If you know anyone or any group who would want to help out with this protest please show them this event page.
There are so many really cool human-only circuses around that it is high time the animal circuses ended.
Ringling Bros B&B Circus
Wed, Feb. 18th, 2009 07:00 PM
Thu, Feb. 19th, 2009 10:30 AM
Thu, Feb. 19th, 2009 07:00 PM
Fri, Feb. 20th, 2009 03:30 PM
Fri, Feb. 20th, 2009 07:30 PM
Sat, Feb. 21st, 2009 11:30 AM
Sat, Feb. 21st, 2009 03:30 PM
Sat, Feb. 21st, 2009 07:30 PM
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 11:30 AM
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 03:30 PM
Sun, Feb. 22nd, 2009 07:30 PM
Although some children dream of running away to join the circus, it is a safe bet that most animals forced to perform in circuses dream of running away from the circus. Colorful pageantry disguises the fact that animals used in circuses are captives who are forced—under threat of punishment—to perform confusing, uncomfortable, repetitious, and often painful acts. Circuses would quickly lose their appeal if more people knew about the cruel methods used to train the animals; the cramped confinement, unacceptable travel conditions, and poor treatment that they endure; and what happens to them when they “retire.”
A Life Far Removed From Home
On its Web site, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus boasts that it “criss-cross[es] the country 11 months out of the year, logging more than 25,000 miles.”(1) Because circuses are constantly traveling from city to city, animals’ access to basic necessities such as food, water, and veterinary care is often inadequate. The animals, most of whom are quite large and naturally active, are forced to spend most of their lives in the cramped, barren cages used to transport them, where they have only enough room to stand and turn around. Most animals are allowed out of their cages only during the short periods when they must perform. Elephants are kept in leg shackles that only allow them to lift one foot at a time. The minimum requirements of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) are routinely ignored.
The temperature extremes that animals are subjected to during their travels with the circus cause misery and sometimes death. A young lion named Clyde died in a sweltering boxcar as a Ringling Bros. train crossed the Mojave Desert on a day when temperatures exceeded 100°F. Clyde’s caretaker told the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that his supervisors refused to stop the train, even when he warned them that the lions were in danger.(2) The Suarez Bros. Circus kept polar bears in hot, humid Puerto Rico in 8-foot-by-7-foot cages without air-conditioning or a regular chance to swim before U.S. officials finally ordered that the bears be confiscated and sent to a more suitable climate.(3)
Veterinarians qualified to treat exotic animals usually aren’t present or available at circuses, and many animals have suffered and died as a result of a lack of proper medical attention. Ricardo, an 8-month-old baby elephant, was killed in 2004 after suffering severe and irreparable fractures to both hind legs when he fell off a circus pedestal at Ringling’s breeding and training compound in Florida. As an undersized calf born to a young mother who was unable to nurse him, Ricardo likely suffered from malnutrition, and fragile bones may have contributed to his fatal fall from a dangerously high platform.(4) An African elephant named Kenya who was performing with the Australia-based Sydney Circus suffered a fatal heart attack when he was “hassled by dogs” according to accounts reported in The Belfast Telegraph.(5)
Unnatural Environments, Unnatural Behaviors
The lives of baboons, chimpanzees, and other primates used in circuses are a far cry from those of their wild relatives, who live in large, close-knit communities and travel together for miles each day across forests, savannahs, and hills. Primates are highly social, intelligent, and caring animals who suffer when deprived of companionship. Like all animals used in entertainment, primates do not perform unless they are forced to—often through beatings and solitary confinement. After watching video footage of baboons in a traveling circus called Baboon Lagoon, Dr. Robert Sapolsky, a research associate with the Institute of Primate Research in Kenya, said, “[T]raining most baboons to do tricks of the sort displayed is not trivial … it is highly likely that it required considerable amounts of punishment and intimidation.”(6)
During the off-season, animals used in circuses may be housed in traveling crates or barn stalls; some are even kept in trucks. Such unrelieved physical confinement has harmful physical and psychological effects on animals. These effects are often indicated by unnatural behaviors such as repeated head-bobbing, swaying, and pacing.(7) A study of circuses conducted by Animal Defenders International in the United Kingdom “found abnormal behaviors of this kind in all of the species observed.” Investigators witnessed elephants who were chained for 70 percent of the day, horses who were confined for 23 hours per day, and large cats who were kept in cages up to 99 percent of the time.(8)
The tricks that animals are forced to perform—such as bears’ balancing on balls, apes’ riding motorcycles, and elephants’ standing on two legs—are physically uncomfortable and behaviorally unnatural. The whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, bullhooks, and other tools used during circus acts are reminders that the animals are being forced to perform. These “performances” teach audiences nothing about how animals behave under normal circumstances.
Beaten Into Submission
Physical punishment has always been the standard training method for animals in circuses. Animals are beaten, shocked, and whipped to make them perform—over and over again—tricks that make no sense to them. The AWA does not prohibit the use of bullhooks, whips, electrical shock prods, or other devices used by circus trainers. Trainers drug some animals to make them “manageable” and surgically remove the teeth and claws from others.
Video footage shot during a PETA undercover investigation of Carson & Barnes Circus revealed Carson & Barnes’ animal care director, Tim Frisco, viciously attacking, yelling, and cursing at and shocking endangered Asian elephants. Frisco instructed other elephant trainers to beat the elephants with a bullhook as hard as they could and to sink the sharp metal bullhook into the animals’ flesh and twist it until they screamed in pain. The videotape also showed a handler using a blowtorch to remove elephants’ hair and chained elephants and caged bears exhibiting stereotypic behaviors caused by mental distress.
Clyde Beatty-Cole circus has been cited repeatedly by the USDA for animal welfare violations. According to congressional testimony provided by former Beatty-Cole elephant keeper Tom Rider, “[I]n White Plains, N.Y., when Pete did not perform her act properly, she was taken to the tent and laid down, and five trainers beat her with bullhooks.” Rider also told officials that “[a]fter my three years working with elephants in the circus, I can tell you that they live in confinement and they are beaten all the time when they don’t perform properly.”(9)
Archele Hundley was an animal trainer with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. She says she worked with the company for three months and quit after she allegedly saw a handler ram a bullhook into an elephant’s ear for refusing to lie down. Ringling Bros. “believes that if they can keep these animals afraid, they can keep them submissive,” Hundley said. “This is how they train their employees to handle these animals.”(10)
These intelligent captives sometimes snap under the pressure of constant abuse; others make their feelings abundantly clear when they get a chance. Flora, an elephant who had been forced to perform in a circus and was later moved to the Miami Zoo, attacked and severely injured a zookeeper in front of visitors.(11) As Florida police officer Blaine Doyle—who shot 47 rounds into Janet, an elephant who ran amok with three children on her back at the Great American Circus in Palm Bay—noted, “I think these elephants are trying to tell us that zoos and circuses are not what God created them for … but we have not been listening.”(12)
What You Can Do
As more people become aware of the cruelty involved in forcing animals to perform, circuses that use animals are finding fewer places to set up their big tops. The use of animals in entertainment has already been restricted or banned in several U.S. localities—including South Carolina and Orange County and Pasadena, California—as well as in cities around the world, like New Delhi, Belfast, and Rio de Janeiro. The council of the Chester-le-Street district in the U.K. banned events in which animals perform, calling them “a relic of a bygone era.”(13)
Don’t patronize circuses that use animals. PETA can provide literature to pass out to patrons if the circus comes to your town. Find out about state and local animal protection laws, and report any suspected violations to authorities. Contact PETA for information on ways to get an animal-display ban passed in your area.
Take your family to see only animal-free circuses, such as Cirque du Soleil or the Pickle Family Circus.
1) Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, “Always on the Move, It’s The Town Without a ZIP Code!” Feld Entertainment, Inc., 2006.
2) Marc Kaufman, “USDA Investigates Death of Circus Lion; Activists Challenge Ringling Bros.’ Account, Say They Notified Federal Officials,” The Washington Post 8 Aug. 2004.
3) Howie Paul Hartnett, “2 of 3 Polar Bears Make It to N.C.,” Charlotte Observer 20 Nov. 2002.
4) Marc Kaufman, “USDA Investigates Death of Circus Lion,” The Washington Post 8 Aug. 2004.
5) Victoria O’Hara, “Circus Elephant Died After Being ‘Hassled by Dogs,’” The Belfast Telegraph 7 Aug. 2007.
6) Robert Sapolsky, letter to PETA, Jun. 2004.
7) Randi Hutter Epstein, “Circus Life Drives Animals Insane, Two British Rights Groups Contend,” Associated Press, 24 Aug. 1993.
8) Jan Creamer and Tim Phillips, “The Ugliest Show on Earth,” Animal Defenders, Ltd., last accessed 22 Nov. 2004.
9) Testimony of Tom Rider, legislative hearing on H.R.2929, 13 Jun. 2000.
10) Ira Cantor, “Bill Would Outlaw Hooks Used on Elephants,” Milford Daily News 17 Oct. 2007.
11) NBC 6 News Team, “Elephant Who Attacked Handler Was Circus Star,” NBC6.net, 17 Dec. 2002.
12) Louis Sahagun, “Elephants Pose Giant Dangers,” Los Angeles Times 11 Oct. 1994.
13) “Circuses Face New Ban,” The Journal 27 Nov. 2000.