Filed under: Animal Rights @ GMU, AR Action, Local Events, Protest, Use Your Voice! | Tags: Demonstration, GMU, Ringling Bros., Ringling Bros. Beats Elephants, Ringling Bros. Circus Cruelty, Ringling Circus, The Patriot Center
Ringling Bros. Demonstration Schedule for George Mason University
Please join us to protest animal abuse at GMU!
For many years, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus has come to the Patriot Center every spring semester bringing along several species of enslaved animals, including: elephants, llamas, rabbits, tigers, dogs, zebras, horses, and goats. Circus animals spend their entire lives either confined to cages or in chains, traveling eleven months of the year through weather conditions considerably different from their native habitats. In order for animals to perform circus tricks, they are beaten with metal bullhooks, shocked with electrical devices, tied down with ropes, and whipped.
Circus animals are caged, routinely beaten to incentivize their performance of tricks, and suffer both mentally and physically during their captivity. Their performances do not educate children about animals. Rather, it sends a message that animal abuse and dominion is acceptable. As an alternative to Ringling Bros., please support shows with talented, consenting performers; such as Cirque du Soleil and other acts that do not exploit animals.
These nonhuman animals are either stolen from their native ecosystems, or they are bred in captivity and removed from their mothers before their first birthday. Despite public relations campaigns that falsely advertise “conservation efforts,” Ringling Bros. has never released a captive-bred animal into the wild. Beyond physical maltreatment, circus animals are deprived of the freedom to roam, access to environmental stimuli, and the ability to engage in instinctual behaviors such as social interaction. In 2011, as a result of dozens of violations under the USDA’s Animal Welfare Act, Ringling’s parent company was ordered to pay the largest settlement against an animal exhibitor, totaling $270,000.
Please join us and lend your voice to these animals!
All signs and leaflets will be provided. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, especially for weather-related changes. These protests are organized by a small collective of individuals, not a major organization. We only do legal protests. If you are uncomfortable at any time, please see Lisa.
For a “vigil,” we hold signs, and candles, offer leaflets, but do not say much unless asked questions. For a “vigil/protest” we start with a vigil for the show letting out and transition to a protest for the next show. For a “protest” we hold signs, hand-out leaflets, and engage in speak-outs and some chanting (you will be given a chant sheet).
Filed under: Animal Rights @ GMU, Announcement, AR Action, ARC Events, Campaign, Local Events, News, Protest, Use Your Voice!
To further emphasize the importance of these efforts, here some photos taken by ARC precisely ON CAMPUS in the last two years.
Filed under: Animal Rights @ GMU, AR Event, Benefit Show, Local Events, Vegan
Join us this Friday for author and activist Colleen Patrick-Goudreau!
Colleen will be presenting at Fall For The Book, discussing her latest endeavor “The 30-Day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Cleaner, Getting Leaner, and Living Compassionately.” Learn about how a vegan lifestyle is excellent for improving personal health and increasing compassion for animals and the environment.
Colleen is an educator, activist, cooking instructor, public speaker and the award-winning author of five books. She is also the dynamic host of the podcast “Vegetarian Food For Thought” which works to educate people to make informed food choices, to debunk myths about veganism and animal rights, and to inspire others to live compassionately. Colleen’s books will be available for purchase at the event!
Are YOU up for the challenge?!
WHEN: Friday, September 23rd 2011 | 4:30-5:45pm FREE!
WHERE: Dewberry Hall North in the Johnson Center (bottom floor), George Mason University Fairfax Campus
This event is sponsored by the GMU Animal Rights Collective and Compassion for Animals.
We hope to see you there!!
OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS:
Saturday, Sept. 24 — DC VegFest @ George Washington University 11am-6pm (More Info @ http://dcvegfest.com/)
Sunday, Sept. 25 — Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary Open House, Poolesville MD 1-5pm. (More Info @ http://www.animalsanctuary.org/events/index.html)
Filed under: Animal Cuteness, Animal Rights 101, Announcement, AR Event, Local Events | Tags: Compassion for Animals, Poplar Spring
Join us and Compassion for Animals as we volunteer to help care for the rescued animals at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary.
VOLUNTEER…ENJOY A PICNIC LUNCH…MEET THE ANIMALS…
or all of the above!
Sunday August 28, 2011
Compassion for Animals is organizing a combination “volunteer day” and guided tour at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary. Please sign up for either event or both by RSVPing to email@example.com.
Volunteering starts at 9am, and the tour starts at 1pm; there will be a lunch break in the middle. The tour can accommodate up to 40 people—bring your friends! Details below.
We’re especially interested in attracting people who have never been to this wonderful, peaceful place—but anyone can sign up!
Poplar Spring is a 400-acre oasis near Poolesville, Maryland, about 45 minutes from DC. The residents of Poplar Spring are 200 “farm animals” rescued from abuse, neglect, abandonment, and cruelty. Their stories are often heartbreaking, but their resilience and recovery—and the compassion they’ve received from caring humans—is inspiring.
Come meet the chickens, turkeys, cows, pigs, goats, sheep, rabbits, and other animals who live freely at Poplar Spring. You may be amazed at some of their personalities.
There are lots of chores to be done at the sanctuary, and on the weekends they’re done by volunteers. We’ll spread hay, clean barns, refill water bowls, brush horses, and—yes—shovel poop. It usually takes about three hours to get all the tasks done.
Volunteers may want to bring an extra pair of shoes and socks, and maybe an extra shirt, as well as a pair of work or gardening gloves. You may also want to bring some water, although you can buy bottled water at the sanctuary.
Although we’ve helped out at Poplar Spring for years and have never seen any accidents, and you’ll be led by experienced, safety-conscious sanctuary directors and volunteers, the sanctuary does ask that first-time volunteers fill out this volunteer application form AND waiver form (both are necessary); you can either mail them back to Poplar Spring or bring them with you when you show up. The work is not particularly strenuous; it is more like house-cleaning than aerobics. Volunteers on any given day may range from teenagers to those drawing Social Security; you can participate at your own pace. The environment at Poplar Spring is very friendly and supportive. Volunteers under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult.
You’ll likely get a chance to rub a pig’s belly, hold a chicken, and pet turkeys, goats, and other animals. Very cool stuff. But please do so under supervision, as the long-time volunteers and sanctuary directors will have useful tips and will know which animals like (or do not like) that sort of interaction. If you’ll also be taking the tour, there will also be opportunities to interact with the animals then.
Note: We have to limit the number of volunteers for sanctuary chores to about 10, so it’s important that you RSVP.
People volunteering or taking the tour are invited to bring a vegan (no animal ingredients) picnic lunch. We’ll eat lunch from the time we finish the morning chores until 1 pm. Compassion for Animals will bring some vegan food to share, including desserts. There are picnic tables, as well as wash-up facilities and a place to buy water and iced tea on the grounds. So here’s the schedule:
9 AM-noon — Sanctuary Cleanup
Noon-1 PM — Lunch
1-2PM — Guided Tour
Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary
15200 Mt. Nebo Rd.
Poolesville, Maryland 20837
When you arrive, open the gate to drive in, then close the gate behind you. Drive about a mile along the gravel road until you get near the end and can see some of the buildings on the property. We’ll gather there. You can park your vehicle on the grass by the side of the road.
We can probably arrange some carpooling. Let us know if that’s something you’d be interested in.
We hope to see you there!
Filed under: Animal Rights @ GMU, Media, News | Tags: Animal Rights and Humane Education, George Mason University, Meet Your Meat, New Century College, Paul Gorski
Classes We Love: Course Explores Animal Rights Movement
By Jason Jacks on July 18, 2011
from “The Mason Spirit”
Gaining knowledge is not always for the squeamish, as is sometimes the case in one of Mason’s summer courses: Animal Rights and Humane Education.
Image: Paul Gorski teaches a new class about animal rights. (Photo by Nicolas Tan)
As the name suggests, the class explores—sometimes through difficult-to-watch films like the one described above—the movement to protect the other members of the animal kingdom. This is the first time the class is being offered at Mason.
Taught by Paul Gorski, an assistant professor of integrated studies in New Century College, the class touches on the testing of products on animals, the use of animals in entertainment, veganism, and animal fighting, as well as how animals are treated at large factory farms.
“I don’t see my role as preparing activists,” says Gorski, who is teaching the class as a section of NCLC 395 Special Topics in Experiential Learning. “I just see [animal rights] as a conversation in society that people are really interested in.”
This intensive two-week class is split into two sections. The first week takes place mostly in the classroom and includes guest speakers and field trips. During the second week, students spend much of their time working on class projects and meeting with Gorski online.
So far this summer, the class has visited a Maryland sanctuary for farm animals. There were also plans to attend the Taking Action for Animals conference in Washington, D.C.
During one recent class, a representative from the Humane Society of the United States spoke about the brutal conditions some farm animals endure and the increasingly popular trend of “Meatless Mondays,” where consumers forgo meat for one day a week.
On the same day, students also watched “Meet Your Meat,” a short film narrated by actor Alec Baldwin filled with hard-to-watch clips of the maltreatment of animals at some unnamed factory farms.
“I want to go home and throw everything out of my refrigerator,” one student says moments after watching the film.
Katie Isaacman, a senior majoring in integrated studies and a member of the class, has been a vegetarian since age 6. She says she avoids meat for ethical reasons, as she is a strong believer in animal rights.
“It was tough to watch,” she says of the film. “But it’s important to show people what is going on.”
A social justice scholar, much of Gorski’s previous scholarly work has focused on the more human-centric topics of gender, poverty, and racism. He is the founder of www.EdChange.org, a coalition of educators and activists who develop free social justice resources.
To prepare himself for teaching the animal rights class, he read extensively on the subject and took courses on animal protection offered by the Humane Society.
He says classes dedicated solely to animal rights are rare at universities. Those that do offer similar courses, he explains, usually do so through their philosophy departments.
He hopes his class will at least “incite interest” in students to continue studying animal rights.
“I think this class will put animal rights as a potential field of study on the radar screens of some students,” he says.
And if it goes a step further and spurs some into becoming full-fledged animal rights activists, then, “that would be great, too,” he says.
Filed under: Animal Rights News, Animal Rights Petition, Campaign, News, Protest, Uncategorized, Victory! | Tags: Elephants, GMU, Petition, Protest, Ringling, Student Government
Student Government Supports Student Protests of Ringling’s Animal Abuses
BREAKING: A few hours ago student government passed “a resolution in support of the student protest to the Ringling Brothers Circus performance at George Mason University.” The resolution cites multiple cases of animal abuses by Ringling. In 2010 alone the Ringling Brothers had numerous citations from the USDA for failures to comply with the Animal Welfare Act, including failure to maintain adequate veterinary care in two separate elephant cases and failure to control an elephant while in public.
Animal Rights Collective members spoke in front of the Student Senate of George Mason University explaining the issue and student opposition to Ringling on behalf of the collective. After a long discussion, the mostly supportive senators passed the resolution.
This is a major victory of the Mason students that have been standing up against animal abuse over the years. A petition was presented to student government with 1,667 student signatures calling for a ban on animal circuses at George Mason. You may add your name to the petition here. We plan to deliver the petition to the GMU administration in the upcoming weeks. We are currently gathering more support and raising awareness about the issue as the ‘Cruelest Show on Earth’ continues at the Patriot Center. Full protest schedule is here.
Senator Jordan and our other allies in student government are true champions in getting the resolution passed and supporting our efforts. They have stood up for what is just and right. “Animal abuse is not entertainment,” Jordan explained to the student senate before the resolution went to a vote. The resolution passed by a majority.
The student petition and the Animal Rights Collective is calling for a ban on animal circuses at George Mason. Considering that many countries are working to end the use of animals as entertainment, banning an animal circuses on campus is possible. Bolivia was the first nation to ban animal circuses, with China being second, and three councils in Australia have banned exotic animal use. The UK is currently considering a ban as well with the release of undercover footage of an Asian elephant being chained 24 hours a day and repeatedly beaten by a staff member. The parliaments of both Brazil and Peru are also considering similar bans. We can bring a ban to Mason and as Jordan advocates, “support animal-free circuses that celebrate human achievement” rather than animal domination.
You can read Resolution 23, the resolution in support of students protesting Ringling, below or check the student government website where the resolution will soon be uploaded.
A Resolution in support of the student protest to the Ringling Brothers Circus performance at George Mason University
31st Student Senate
A Resolution in support of the student protest to the Ringling Brothers Circus performance at George Mason University
IN THE STUDENT SENATE OF
GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
April 14, 2011
Submitted by Chairman Jordan (Diversity)
A Resolution in support of student protests to the Ringling Brothers Circus performance at George mason University
Be it resolved that the Student Senate of George Mason University-
Whereas, there are numerous documented cases of animals dying due to lack of veterinary care
Whereas, many animals have died due to poor containment facilities,
Whereas, there are numerous documented cases of unsanitary feeding conditions,
Whereas, of the circus’s 62 elephants, 57 have been taken from their natural habitat,
Whereas, the type of elephant used in the Ringling Brother circus performances are endangered and are subject of numerous cases of mistreatment,
Whereas, the protesters do not wish George Mason University to profit from animal abuse
Therefore be it Resolved, That the Student Senate of George Mason University supports the efforts of student protesters of the Ringling Brothers Circus at the George Mason University Patriot Center
Filed under: AR Alert, ARC Events, Campaign, Local Events, Media, Protest, Use Your Voice! | Tags: Animal Rights Collective, Broadside, George Mason University, Ringling Bros. Beats Elephants, Ringling Bros. Circus Cruelty, Ringling Protest
By Monika Joshi / Copy Chief
Protestors hand out pamphlets alleging circus animal abuse Thursday. (Photo by Monika Joshi)
The return of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus to George Mason University has drawn protests from about 20 animal rights activists, including members of the university’s Animal Rights Collective.
“Pictures don’t lie!” shouted one protestor at Thursday’s demonstration, pointing to a poster of a roped elephant’s legs being pulled in opposite directions by trainers.
The photograph, as well as video footage of elephant and tiger abuse shown later that night, were captured by animal rights organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who say that Ringling Bros. animals are regularly beaten, chained and neglected.
Through the protests, scheduled to coincide with circus performances throughout the week, ARC aims to educate people on the mistreatment of animals in circuses.
The group was officially recognized as a student organization in 2009 and has been leading anti-circus protests every year since.
“Most circus patrons are receptive to our message, and I believe many will reconsider supporting the Ringling Bros.’ cruelty the next time,” said ARC member Jason Von Kundra.
The student group plans to deliver a petition with over 2,000 signatures to the university before the end of the semester, asking that the circus be banned from Mason.
“We are asking that our administration do the right thing by banning animal circuses from campus,” said Von Kundra, a junior earth science major. “We hope to send a strong message that abusing animals is not entertainment and that the Ringling’s ‘Cruelest Show on Earth’ has no place at Mason.”
Barry Geisler, general manager of the Patriot Center, said he sees no reason why the circus should not be allowed on campus, given that it garners high community interest and financial return for the university.
“We’re going to get more people in this week and a half than we get for an entire basketball season,” said Geisler. “So there’s obviously strong community support for the event.”
According to Geisler, the circus animals were inspected by Fairfax County Animal Control on Tuesday and no action was required.
“No one’s ever found any alleged abuse,” Geisler said. “There’s never been any abuse. They get inspected every single year.”
The protestors, however, contend that there is no way to train animals to perform circus tricks without inflicting pain and punishment.
Christine Kauffman, a Mason alumna who helped found ARC, also questioned the value of the inspections conducted at the university.
“Obviously the handlers aren’t going to beat an animal in front of an animal control officer,” she said. “They’re going to do it when no one is watching.”
Following the last performance of each night, protestors hold a candlelight vigil to honor the circus animals.
“[People] may forget about us when they go in,” said ARC member and senior history major Anthony Murray. “But when they leave, it’s the last image they see.”
Plus, this additional anti-Ringling piece in the Opinion section:
By Justin Lalputan / Opinion Editor
Let me start by saying that I’m not some hippie environmentalist who thinks that we should scrap all our technology and return to being one with Mother Earth.
That’s not me at all. What does bother me, however, is when people abuse animals for purposes of mere entertainment.
That makes me feel sick.
According to PETA, Ringling teaches their animals to do tricks by beating them and putting them through abusive, torturous training.
Elephants are trained to do their tricks through the use of instruments called bullhooks, training tools that, according to PETA, “look like fire pokers.”
One manner in which they train baby elephants is by forcing them into unusual positions (such as forcing them to stand on their high legs on a platform), hitting them all over their bodies with the aforementioned bullhook and then using electric prods.
The impact on the animal’s well-being is intense, and it is not unusual for animals to die or become injured by this type of mistreatment.
Speaking of deaths, in 2004, a lion died of heatstroke as Ringling Bros. crossed the Mojave Desert, and they euthanized an 8-month-old baby elephant which fractured its hind legs doing a stunt that trainers forced it to do.
Since 2000, the United States Department of Agriculture has cited Ringling Bros. for violations including improper handling of dangerous animals, unsanitary feeding practices and causing trauma and physical harm to two elephants.
Obviously information from PETA must always be taken with a grain of salt, but the information from the USDA tells no lies: Ringling Bros. have a history of mistreating its animals.
But what really gets me mad is not only are the Ringling Bros. mistreating animals, they are doing it here at Mason.
Aren’t we the school whose goal is to be environmentally friendly? Aren’t we the ones who generate almost no trash at Southside so that we can protect nature?
Doesn’t it seem a tad bit hypocritical that we are so pro-environment, yet we are directly supporting people who routinely harm animals that live on the same Earth that we are trying to protect?
The sad thing is most people don’t even care.
They don’t care about any of the deaths that I mentioned or the countless more that have occurred. Instead, all they want to do is be entertained.
Fine. They can do whatever they want. But I will not be supporting this circus in any way, shape or form.
They treat animals horribly, and despite this fact, people still go watch their shows and support them.
I’m not asking people to change their lifestyle or become an animal rights activist; I’m asking them to see that the practices of Ringling Bros. are just plain wrong and we should be working for change.
You can say that the circus is coming to Mason, but to me, it feels more like the house of horrors.