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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.
I did a home safety assessment for a patient at work today. I went with her & her husband to their rural home that includes a small herd (i.e. <25) of cows raised for meat. Having never been in this particular situation before, I was keenly interested to learn everything I could about the fate of those animals. I watched the cows innocently & peacefully grazing on grass as my patient was more than happy to answer all my questions.
By anyone’s definition, this is about as “humane” as an animal farm can get. The bulls are not castrated, so the breeding is natural. The cows have a lovely green pasture with a beautiful view of trees & mountains in a location w/ a mild climate. A mobile unit comes to the farm to slaughter the animals on site. The animals are killed when not much more than ~18 months (“so that the meat doesn’t get too tough”…and older animals are only “good” for hamburger.) The animal’s body is hauled off to a butcher shop in a nearby city for about a week of aging (she called it “hanging”) & then processing into the various meat cuts.
This will be the last herd that my patient & her husband will have because they are both elderly & it’s getting to be too much work for them. She also admitted that for health reasons everyone in her family is eating less beef so it is clearly not a necessary food source. She clearly has a certain fondness for her animals & yet her speaking tone was matter of fact and clinical.
I found the whole experience quite unsettling. Since going vegan, I have never needed confirmation, but yet being there confirmed in my mind that I am on the right track. If this little family farm is AS good as it gets, I still don’t want any part of it. I looked at the eyes of those animals. I put myself in their situation. I can only come to the conclusion that those animals don’t deserve to be suddenly killed when it is so unnecessary to kill them. It is unnecessary to eat them. And they really are babies…18 months. Cows can live to be 20 years or more if given the chance.
More Q’s I have: What happens when the mobile slaughter unit drives up? What is the process then? I didn’t have time to find out all the answers to every question that I later thought of. What happens when one cow is harmed..killed? When do the other cows know that they, too, will be harmed? I still want to know more. Nevertheless, I reflect on this interaction without tears, without anger. I am disturbed by it because it is so unfair. So unjust. But I am glad that no more animals on this particular farm will be bred just to be killed. I hope that more people will go vegan.
(Written April 5, 2012)