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Oh, Joy! The circus came to town again in Everett, WA. This was my second year protesting at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. There were a total of 7 shows at the Comcast Arena this year:
- 1 on Thursday 8/23
- 1 on Friday 8/24
- 3 on Saturday 8/25
- 2 on Sunday 8/26
Why do I protest the circus?
Because I don’t think animals belong in the circus, period. Animals are not consenting performers. Animals in the circus are captive slaves. Corporate entities have no right to exploit animals for their own profit. Animals do not exist for the purpose of entertaining people.
It’s frustrating to listen to claims that ignorant people make– that circus animals are “all treated with great love and attention.” I don’t know whether to laugh, cry or bash my head against the wall when I hear that!
“Treatment” is not the issue for me. No degree of welfare regulation will ever make it okay to dominate elephants, big cats and other animals for a life of servitude. These animals deserve the right to live their own lives. Just like “humane meat” is an oxymoron, so is the fantasy concept of a humane animal circus.
- Cruel treatment IS a reality and has been well documented. Check out www.ringlingbeatsanimals.com
- Circus training techniques are inherently abusive.
- The tour schedule and travel logistics alone are inherently cruel.
Think about #3, the tour schedule for a circus animal…
“Circus animals” (elephants, big cats, horses, llamas, and goats) are on the road week after week, month after month, and year after year. Each tour city has multiple show dates. Between shows, the animals travel to the next city.
We are all well aware of how stressful tour schedules can be for human performers in music, right? Yet, even human stage performers don’t go on tour year after year, for their whole lives.
Now that the show in Everett is over, the “Gold Tour” will continue traveling on…
Kent, WA…8/31 – 9/03
Nampa, ID…9/07 – 9/09
Portland, OR…9/13 – 9/16
Billings, MT…9/20 – 9/23
Bismarck, ND…9/28 – 9/30
Des Moines, IA…10/04 – 10/07
Peoria, IL…10/12 – 10/14
Champaign, IL…10/19 – 10/21
Bethlehem, PA…10/25 – 10/28
Wilkes Barre, PA…11/01 – 11/04
Meanwhile, 2 other groups of voluntary human performers and involuntary animal performers are traveling in other parts of the U.S. in the “Blue Tour” and “Red Tour.” It looks like these money-making tours will never end.
This nightmare for animals won’t end unless caring people will make a stand en masse. People everywhere need to show up at the circus arenas in protest– refusing to support, refusing to fund, refusing to attend these barbaric shows.
Read how Ringling Bros. performs some moral gymnastics…attempting to bend, twist and stretch blatant animal cruelty into a benign form of “happy” family entertainment. The following quoted excerpts are from the Animal Care FAQ page of the www.ringling.com website. My questions and comments are indicated by the >>>>
“Ringling Bros. exceeds all federal animal welfare standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Animal Welfare Act.”
>>>> If that is true, then how come Ringling was slapped with the largest penalty in circus history? (Click the link to learn more.)
>>>> View this video of an elephant swaying neurotically. Is this the behavior of a thriving animal? (Footage was taken by a fellow protester at the Everett show.)
“We can’t say it enough: Ringling Bros. loves animals as much as you do!”
>>>> Wrong. Ringling can “say it” all they want, but a lie is still a lie. Actions speak much, much louder than words. Love and exploitation cannot coexist. The only thing that Ringling “loves” is the money that the animals bring.
Only *YOU* can stop the unnecessary exploitation of sentient beings.
The problem is animal exploitation. The solution is Veganism.
Step 1: You. Change must start with YOU. First you go vegan. You stop consuming animals, wearing animals, and buying products made of animals or tested on animals. You stop going to venues using animals to entertain. You stop accepting that animals are just commodities to use. You start thinking about animals as individuals with their own interests. Simple.
Step 2: NOW WHAT?? Now that you’ve changed, what do you do next? Do you leave it at that? Or, do you speak up and try to help effect change in others? Remember – the point of going vegan isn’t to join a “club” that follows a strict set of “rules.” The point is to help solve a very serious social justice problem.
Solving problems of gargantuan proportion depends on the collective effort of many. No “group” is more oppressed than non-human animals. For the human culture to stop conceptualizing animals as primarily “things to consume” is going to take a monumental push for change.
- To urge forward or urge insistently; pressure: “Push a child to study harder.”
- To extend or enlarge: “Push society past the frontier.”
- To promote or sell: “The author pushed her latest book.”
So who is pushing for change? Vegans. Non-vegans won’t do it. Vegetarians won’t do it. Vegans are the only ones advocating 100% for the rights of animals not to be used.
Passionate vegans work for the greater good. By promoting Veganism, we “urge” others to act with fairness toward sentient beings. We put “pressure” on the status quo. We ask others to “enlarge” their circle of compassion to include all animals. We “promote” non-violence. These are good things. Yet, passionate, active, vocal vegans are frequently called “pushy.”
- offensively assertive or forceful
- marked by aggressive ambition and energy and initiative
Hmm…pushy sounds bad. So how did we get from “push” to “pushy?” How did we get from the words, “urge forward / extend / promote” to “offensive” and “aggressive?”
I think it has more to do with how non-vegans react to being challenged than anything else. I don’t think it really matters what the frequency– the content– the delivery method– of the vegan message is. The vegan message itself is considered inherently “aggressive” in a culture where animal exploitation is ubiquitous. Where animal slaughter is condoned, those who speak in protest are considered the “offensive” ones. All a vegan has to do is open his or her mouth to be labelled “pushy.” No one minds a quiet vegan!
Push…pushy. It doesn’t really matter. The bottom line is we have a long way to go to shift the paradigm. The animals need our help so we can’t keep quiet. So, spreaders of the vegan message: Keep pushing for change…you pushy, pushy vegans!
(Picture taken September 12, 2011 at the Ringling Circus protest in Everett, WA)