Animal Rights Collective Blog


Student Government Supports Student Protests of Ringling’s Animal Abuses by Jason Von Kundra

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.

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A Resolution in support of the student protest to the Ringling Brothers Circus performance at George Mason University

R. 23

 

31st Student Senate

2nd Session

R. 23

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)

RESOLUTION 23

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



Ringling Protests: Check Us Out in Broadside This Week! by christine

Standing Up for Animal Rights

By Monika Joshi / Copy Chief

Protestors hand out pamphlets alleging circus animal abuse Thursday. (Photo by Monika Joshi)

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.”

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Plus, this additional anti-Ringling piece in the Opinion section:

Cruelest show on earth returns

By Justin Lalputan / Opinion Editor

As some of you may already know, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is back at George Mason University. It is advertised as the “Greatest Show on Earth,” however, one thing that it doesn’t advertise is the accusations of animal cruelty that groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals constantly make.

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.



Field Trip! ARC @ Poplar Springs by christine

On Sunday April 10th, members of ARC joined Compassion for Animals on their biannual tour of Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary. Poplar Spring is a non-profit refuge for farm animals and wildlife on 400 acres in Poolesville, Maryland. All of the animals have been rescued from abhorrent conditions that denied even their most basic rights, and where once their only value was in the weight of their slaughtered flesh. Thanks to Poplar Springs and their own tenacious spirits, they now get to live out their lives in peace. Their charming personalities begin to shine through as they are treated with dignity and respect, and it always amazes me that they can learn to trust humans once again.

Here’s a photo essay of our tour:

Piles o’ Piggies!

Due to genetic manipulation to meet the demands of the animal agriculture business, pigs have been “designed” to grow too fast too quickly. Their bodies cannot keep up and this inevitably causes arthritis and joint problems. We watched as one piggie had a very difficult time getting around, even despite veterinary care and medication.

Don’t interrupt! Deep conversations…

Founder and Director Terry, tells us their incredible stories…

Heidi outsmarted the thieves! She has escaped death, quite a few times, including jumping out of a barn window…you tell ’em honey!

Wynne gets cow smooches!

The Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale Ambassadors

Cuddle Fest

After meowing all morning and then frantically chasing a guinea hen as a result of a love triangle turned sour, this peacock decided to finally see what these humans were about.

Goats!

Malcolm and Wynne

Malcolm and Gabby

For the Animals!

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Also, make sure you check out Gabby’s incredible photos HERE!



Ringling Bros. Circus Protest Outreach by christine

Not in Our Name! Ringling Circus Protest Outreach

Last Saturday, ARC rockers Gabby and Wynne used their creativity to help fight for the animals by painting this cube outside of Southside dining on the GMU Fairfax campus. Ah-mazing work, thanks liberantionistas!

Animals belong in their native habitats, not in the circus!

In order for animals to perform circus tricks, they are beaten with metal bull hooks, shocked with electrical devices, tied down with ropes, and whipped. They are either stolen from their wild habitats, or they are bred in captivity and removed from their mothers before their first birthday. These animals spend their lives in chains and travel eleven months of the year, through weather conditions considerably different from their native habitats.

These animals are caged, routinely beaten to incentivize their performance of tricks, and suffer both mentally and physically during their captivity in the circus. Their performances do not educate children about animals. Rather, it sends a message that animal abuse and dominion is acceptable.

FACTS:

– Ringling was cited in 2010 by the USDA for failure to maintain proper vet care and failure to control animals
– 55 of Ringling’s 63 elephants were poached from the wild
– Ringling boasts 27 elephant DEATHS since 1992!

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Please come and lend your voice to these animals!

Each protest will be about one hour long, signs and leaflets provided. Meet at the West entrance of the Patriot Center.

** PROTEST SCHEDULE (ROUND 1) **
Thurs, April 14 – 6pm / Vigil 9pm
Fri, April 15 – 6:30pm / Vigil 9:30pm
Sat, April 16 – 10:30am, 2:30pm, 6:30pm / Vigil 9:30pm
Sun, April 17 – Noon, 4pm / Vigil 7pm

** PROTEST SCHEDULE (ROUND 2) **
Tues, April 19 – Vigil 9pm
Wed, April 20 – Vigil 9pm
Fri, April 22 – 6:30pm / Vigil 9:30pm
Sat, April 23 – 10:30am, 2:30pm, 6:30pm / Vigil 9:30pm
Sun, April 24 – Noon, 4pm / Vigil 7pm



“Farm to Fridge” Pay-Per-View Reportback by christine

On April 8th, 2011 the Animal Rights Collective and Compassion for Animals hosted a Pay-Per-View of Mercy for Animal’s “Farm to Fridge” at GMU. Members of the Mason community were given $2 and a vegan cookie for watching a 4 minute video clip exposing the truth about factory farming. We had 58 viewers!! Woot, woot! Thanks Holly and Compassion for Animals! Also, thanks to Cece and Gabby from ARC who helped kiosk!

Host your own PPV Screening!

Upcoming Pay-Per-Views:

+ May 3rd: “Earthlings” PPV

Earn $5 to watch this 90 minute documentary about how animals are used for food, clothing, entertainment, and as pets. You must sign in and stay the entirety of the film. Free vegan snacks and discussion to follow. Limit 50 persons. With Compassion for Animals. 4:30-6:30pm, JC Meeting Room F.

+ May 5th: “Farm to Fridge” PPV

Earn $2 and a vegan cookie to watch a 4 minute video clip exposing common practices in the animal agriculture business. With Compassion for Animals. 11-3pm, JC kiosk B.

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Watch the expanded video (12 mins):



Ringling Elephants Pose Health Risk by christine
April 12, 2011, 7:01 pm
Filed under: AR News, Local Events | Tags:

TB in elephants called ‘a gray area’

Animal-rights group says elephant with positive TB test is a danger, but circus and government health officials say there is no risk

Elephants participate in the annual pachyderm parade marking the arrival of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus to Baltimore March 28. Karen the elephant recently tested positive for tuberculosis, but a follow-up test was negative. (Gene Sweeney Jr., Baltimore Sun / March 28, 2011)

By Laura Vozzella, The Baltimore Sun

7:59 p.m. EDT, April 6, 2011

An animal-rights group contends that an elephant performing in Baltimore with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus poses a health risk to the public because she has tested positive fortuberculosis, but circus and government health officials say the animal is no threat because she does not have an active form of the infectious disease.

Karen, a 42-year-old Asian elephant, tested positive for TB in a blood test but negative in a follow-up test known as a trunk wash, which involves taking a culture of saline solution run through the animal’s trunk.

The positive blood test was enough to get Karen barred from entering Tennessee with the rest of the circus back in December. But it appears that health officials in that state, where TB was transmitted from another elephant to nine employees at a refuge in 2009, were taking a stricter stance than required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which calls for quarantining elephantsonly if they have an active case of TB.

Elephant-to-human transmission of TB is a very new field of study — that it occurs at all was only officially established in 2009 by aCenters for Disease Control and Prevention study, prompted by the outbreak at the Tennessee refuge — and experts are still trying to determine the best way to deal with the problem, said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and one of the authors of the CDC study.

“This is a large gray area,” Schaffner said, borrowing a line from one of his co-authors, Rendi Murphree, an epidemic intelligence service officer at the CDC and a visiting scholar at Vanderbilt. The USDA is holding a meeting in Kansas City this very week to discuss the matter.

“Could an elephant have a positive MAPIA [blood] test and a negative trunk wash and still be infectious? Is that possible?” Schaffner said. “That’s where the current scientific discussion lies. How reliable is a negative trunk wash test? That is a legitimate area of discussion. There are people that say every elephant with a positive MAPIA should be held back under infection control precautions — quarantined, if you will — and treated. Others say it’s not necessary.”

Even given all the unknowns, Schaffner thinks that there is little risk of a spectator at the circus becoming infected from an elephant.

“If you’re at a circus, you’re at a great distance from the elephants,” he said. “You do not have genuinely prolonged contact with them. You’re there for two hours of the show. That sort of exposure should not put people at risk.”

He added: “I would let my grandchildren attend.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals discovered late last week that Karen had a positive TB blood test and had been barred from Tennessee, in documents it obtained through a government Freedom of Information request, said Delcianna Winders, the group’s director of captive animal law enforcement. Winders said she forwarded the information to Baltimore animal control officials Monday and that someone there initially told her the city would bar the circus from using Karen. Later, Winders said, the city reversed course and said the animal could perform.

The animal-rights group sent an email to The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday morning headlined: “PETA Applauds City of Baltimore for Pulling Ailing Ringling Elephant From Performances.” A few hours later came a follow-up from PETA: “TB-Infected Elephant Put Back Into Circus Ring — Humans Put at Risk.”

City officials said that there was no about-face and that they reached their conclusion after consulting with appropriate state and federal experts.

“There are established USDA standards by which the potential disease risk is assessed, and this particular case does not meet these standards,” the city Health Department said in a prepared statement.  “The decision to allow Karen the elephant to perform at First Mariner Arena in Baltimore City was based on careful consideration of many factors, including veterinary evaluation of the elephant’s health records.  Based on all the information obtained, and in consultation with DHMH, MD Department of Agriculture and the US Dept of Agriculture, Baltimore City HD has determined that Karen the elephant can participate in scheduled performances in Baltimore.”

laura.vozzella@baltsun.com

 



Ringling Brothers Demonstration Schedule for George Mason University by Jason Von Kundra
April 7, 2011, 10:58 pm
Filed under: AR Action, AR Event, ARC Events, Protest, Use Your Voice! | Tags: , ,

Ringling Brothers Demonstration Schedule for George Mason University

This is the protest schedule for the 2011 Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey shows at the George Mason University Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA. Each protest will last from an hour before the show starts to the start of the show. A vigil will follow each night after the show. Signs and leaflets will be provided. Please come and lend your voice to these animals!

When:

Thursday, April 14 – 6:00 pm, Vigil 9pm

Friday, April 15 – 6:30 pm, Vigil 9:30 pm

Saturday, April 16 – 10:30 am, 2:30 pm, 6:30 pm, Vigil 9:30 pm

Sunday, April 17 – 12:00 pm, 4:00 pm, Vigil 7:00 pm

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Tuesday, April 19 – Vigil 9pm

Wednesday, April 20 – Vigil 9pm

Friday, April 22 – 6:30 pm, Vigil 9:30 pm

Saturday, April 23 – 10:30 am, 2:30 pm, 6:30 pm, Vigil 9:30 pm

Sunday, April 24 – 12:00 pm, 4:00 pm, Vigil 7:00 pm

Where:

Meet at the West entrance of the Patriot Center.

Public Transportation:

Take the Metro Orange Line to Vienna/Fairfax. Then take the CUE Bus (Gold 1, 2 or Green 1, 2) to GMU. Once you arrive at GMU, walk south to the west entrance of the Patriot Center. In other words, once you arrive at the bus stop at GMU, follow Patriot Circle until you find the west entrance to the Patriot Center. You will reach the Patriot Center regardless of the direction you travel on Patriot Circle. The protest will at the west entrance of the Patriot Center. If you are early, we might be at the intersection of Braddock Road and Roanoke River Road. That area is south and near the west entrance of the Patriot Center.

George Mason University is located at 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030.

Why:

Animals belong in their native habitats, not in the circus. Numerous circuses use animals such as elephants, tigers, horses, and zebras. These animals are caged, routinely beaten to incentivize their performance of tricks, and suffer both mentally and physically during their captivity in the circus. The only reason animals are used in circuses is for profit. Their captivity does not educate children about animals. Rather, it sends a message that animal abuse and captivity is acceptable.

In order for animals to perform circus tricks, they are beaten with metal bull hooks, shocked with electrical devices, tied down with ropes, and whipped. They are either stolen from their natural habitat in the wild, or they are bred in captivity and removed from their mothers before their first birthday.

These animals spend their lives in chains and travel eleven months of the year, through weather conditions considerably different from their native habitats. The remaining month is spent in a facility where the animals receive some of the most brutal training, out of the view of the public.

A lifetime spent on concrete or idling in tights cells, results in numerous physical and psychological ailments, such as osteoarthritis, tuberculosis, poor caging and housing conditions, and/or insanity. These health issues frequently lead to the premature deaths of the animals through euthanasia, long before they would have reached their natural lifespan.

Visit our Circus page for more information about the wrongs or captivity and cruelty for entertainment.

Ignore the Truth No Longer:

Watch these videos and learn more about the standard practices Ringling employs to force animals to preform tricks for the entertainment of humans.

Keep Us Free

More Information:

Circuses.com

HelpElephants.com