From Madeline Dennis, www.bridgeportintheknow.com
Join concerned citizens to speak out about the miserable lives of animals in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the circus’s original home, Bridgeport, Connecticut. Local citizens will be protesting the Circus performances at the Webster Arena in Bridgeport October 18–21. Volunteers with large graphic signs and banners and handout literature will seek to educate the public about Ringling’s brutal treatment of its elephants and other performing animals. Local protesters from the international animal rights organizations In Defense of Animals and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Animal Defenders International will also be present.
Activists will be in the plaza in front of the arena at 600 Main Street one hour before performances as parents with their children enter the event. Protests will be Thursday October 18 at 6 pm for opening night, Friday October 19 at 6 pm, Saturday October 20 at 4:45 pm and Sunday October 21 at 12:45 pm.
Circuses and Elephant Abuse
Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus and other circuses worldwide have been the focus of animal abuse allegations. Ringling has been embroiled in controversy for abusive treatment of its Asian elephants, the symbols of the circus, including forcing ailing, arthritic elephants to perform, failure to adequately treat an infection in an elephant who later collapsed after a performance, and traveling with tuberculosis-infected elephants. Last year the U.S. Department of Agriculture fined Ringling an unprecedented $270,000 to settle charges of animal welfare violations, the largest fine ever assessed against an animal exhibitor.
According to eye-witness accounts, court documents and undercover photos and videos, Ringling’s elephants are beaten and hit on sensitive ears, legs and tongues with bullhooks (steel rods similar to fireplace pokers) to control and force them to perform unnatural tricks. Circus elephants spend the vast majority of their time chained or confined to small pens. Big cats are caged, depriving these animals of their natural need to roam long distances. Ringling takes baby elephants away from their mothers for documented violent training, has a history of calves dying under its care and forces too-young calves to travel and perform leaving them susceptible to serious, and often fatal, diseases. For more information, go to www.helpelephants.com or www.ringlingbeatsanimals.com.