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Ringling Bros. Truck at Comcast Arena with The Important People.

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

Standing Up for All Animal Slaves – 8/26/12

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.

My Sign (Photo Credit – Tim Sage)

However…

  1. Cruel treatment IS a reality and has been well documented.  Check out www.ringlingbeatsanimals.com
  2. Circus training techniques are inherently abusive.
  3. 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.

Now…

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.)

“They [staff] meet the animals’ physical needs with nutritious foods and regular veterinary attention and their mental needs by providing a stimulating environment.”

>>>> 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.)

An elephant is under the blue awning. Comcast Arena is a stimulating environment for animals. (Photo credit – Tim Sage)

Close-up of the elephant under the blue awning. (Photo credit – Tim Sage)

“In arenas where space permits, our animal facility is outdoors and in the full view of the public.”

Comcast Arena covered up the holes in the wall with wood during the Ringling show…so that the public could have “full view” of the animal facilities. (Photo credit – Tim Sage)

That black material is not usually on the gate. It was put there so that the animal facility at Comcast Arena would remain in “full view” of the public. (Photo credit – Tim Sage)

”Our animals are great performers, because their routines are tailored to each animal’s natural abilities and individual preferences which we observe during their playtime. Reinforced through a system of reward and repetition, these abilities and behaviors are linked together on cue which ultimately becomes the routine that you see at a Ringling Bros. Circus.”

Mother Jones Article – December 2011

December 2011 Mother Jones article – “The Cruelest Show on Earth”

Read the Mother Jones article here.

“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.

Boycott the Circus! The guy holding that sign told me that he saw my “Abolish Slavery” sign from a car he was riding in. He asked his friend to drop him off so that he could join the protest. Great guy! (Photo credit – Tim Sage)

I am for abolition! (Photo credit – Tim Sage)

GO VEGAN.

Only *YOU* can stop the unnecessary exploitation of sentient beings.

As long as animals are made to perform in the circus…there will be people protesting the circus!

My mom sent me this newspaper article in the mail.  “Bringing Home the Bacon” was published in the Bend Bulletin on August 5, 2012.  The short article was about Central Oregon youth auctioning off their livestock at the Deschutes County Fair.

The article sharply demonstrates how youth in 4-H are quickly taught that money has a higher value than life.

“The kids go home with a big check, more than $5000 for those who raised the biggest, most prized cattle.  Most of the cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, rabbits and poultry bought by local residents, businesses and civic groups will go to the slaughterhouse and find their way to the dinner table in the coming days and months.”

“Sonna said it’s a bit difficult to part with Gus after spending nearly a year raising him, but the money she’ll make out of the deal makes it a bit easier to accept.”

“I just picture him as a big check.”

I’m glad the 10 year old feels a little better with money in hand.  I’d hate to see a child in pain.  But, do you think she learned any lessons about trust in this transaction?  Gus endured the ultimate breach of trust, for $3.90 per pound.

A 17 year old in the article said,

“You can’t look at them like a dog, like your pet.  From the beginning, that’s their purpose in life — they’re just part of the food chain.”

Isn’t it sad that children are brainwashed into thinking that killing and consuming animals is an absolutely necessary part of human nutrition?  I haven’t eaten animals for years.  I don’t need to.  And neither do you.

Like their parents before them, children grow up not ever questioning whether it’s actually justifiable to bring animals into the world, just to turn around and take their lives away a few short months or years later.

We also witness powerful evidence of speciesism:

“…some kids have a tougher time than others letting go of the animals they’ve spent months raising.  Much of it depends on the animal — pigs are affectionate and reasonably easy to grow fond of…but sheep…are less intelligent and much easier to view as meat in the making.”

I must ask:

Should our moral obligation toward other living beings really hedge on arbitrary criteria like form, temperament, and intelligence?  Don’t dogs, pigs, and sheep possess equal interest in avoiding harm?

Now let’s switch gears.  Let’s go forward in time.  Children in 4-H grow up.  Listen to the words of one such 64 year-old man…

*************************

Fred Lundren is the owner and CEO of KCAA AM 1050 radio in Southern California.  He is a former cattle rancher who went vegan earlier this year.  His interesting interview with Bob Linden can be heard on the June 17, 2012 episode of “Go Vegan With Bob Linden.”

Fred grew up in the 4-H culture.  At about 26 minutes into the podcast, Fred recounts his own childhood indoctrination by the 4-H club:

“Well, it’s supposed to teach us to use animals as a product.  It’s just designed to do that, and it’s done quite well.  But it had an opposite affect on me.

I was actually president of our 4-H club, and an officer in FFA.  And, I got a Lone Star farmer degree in Animal Science.  So I’ve been there and done that, and raised animals for a living…”

“In 1965 I raised a champion steer at the Austin Livestock Show.  And, when I was leading that steer up the ramp to the trailer where it was gonna go to slaughter, it was hesitant, but I convinced it to do so.  I took the halter off of it…it walked up into the trailer, and then when it got inside the trailer it turned around and belIowed at me.  And that was the moment that I realized what I was doing.”

At 40 minutes:

“…For all my life, I have ignored that episode from my youth when I actually saw the animal respond to me in a knowing way.  And, like most people we just block it out. We eat our BBQ, we eat our hamburgers, we eat our steaks.  And, as a matter of fact, I was born and raised in what’s known as the sausage capital of Texas: Elgin.  And they have 3 sausage factories there.  And you can imagine how much beef I’ve eaten in my life.”

“…I had to slaughter one calf in my life…and I will never do that again.”

“When I became a vegan, something changed, not only in my metabolism, but in my way of thinking.  Because about a month ago, my wife and daughter ordered a steak.  And of course I ate broccoli and beans and peas and everything vegan for the evening.  But, in the middle of the night I thought, “you know, I wonder”..and they had some steaks leftover, and they had it in a plastic bag, and I says, “I wonder how that would taste.”  And I went to the refrigerator, I looked in the refrigerator and that steak looked like dead flesh to me.  It did not look like a steak. And I thought, “My God, I need to call Bob and tell him.””

***********************

I think it’s appropriate to end this post with the core principles from 4-H:

“The 4-Hs

Head, Heart, Hands, and Health are the four Hs in 4-H, and they are the four values members work on through fun and engaging programs.

Head – Managing, Thinking
Heart – Relating, Caring
Hands – Giving, Working
Health – Being, Living

The 4-H Pledge

I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”

(Reference:  4-H website)

"There are those who are appalled because I am so vocal about injustice, yet I am equally appalled by their silence." Lujene Clark

“Every time you purchase animal products you pay assassins to murder sentient beings for you.”

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"My purpose is not to offend you, it is to provoke you to think." Unknown

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