Animal Rights Collective Blog


Ringling Demo Schedule 2015

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.

Ringling Bros. Beats Elephants

Photo of Ringling Bros. trainers abusing a baby elephant by using ropes and bullhooks to force her to preform tricks (image originally published in The Washington Post).

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!

Where:
The Patriot Center at George Mason University
4400 University Dr. | Fairfax, Virginia
Meet on Po River Ln., facing “Will-Call”
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Demonstration Schedule:

Wednesday, April 8:  9:00-10:00pm Vigil
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Thursday, April 9:  9:00-10:00pm Vigil
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Friday, April 10:  9:30-10:30pm Vigil
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Saturday, April 11:  5:30-8:30pm Vigil/Protest
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Sunday, April 12:  3:00-6:00pm Vigil/Protest
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Thursday, April 16:  9:00pm Vigil
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Friday, April 17:   9:30pm Vigil
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Saturday, April 18:  1:30-4:30pm
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Sunday, April 19:  3:00-6:00pm

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Details:

All signs and leaflets will be provided. Email nooneisproperty@gmail.com 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).



The 30-Day Vegan Challenge! Join us this Friday with author Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
September 20, 2011, 8:00 pm
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!! 

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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)



Volunteer Day & Tour @ Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary

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 info@compassion4animals.org.

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.

Volunteers:

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.

Lunch:

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

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Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary

15200 Mt. Nebo Rd.

Poolesville, Maryland 20837

[map and directions]

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.

RSVP: info@compassion4animals.org

We hope to see you there! 




GMU Coverage of Animal Rights Course

Classes We Love: Course Explores Animal Rights Movement

By Jason Jacks on July 18, 2011

from “The Mason Spirit”

In one grainy movie clip, cows are shocked with electric prods to get them onto a truck. In another, stressed-out chickens are thrown into small crates as they’re being prepared for a trip to the slaughterhouse.

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.



Ringling Protests: Check Us Out in Broadside This Week!

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

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

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