Animal Rights Collective Blog


Ringling Demo Schedule 2015 by christine

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).



Circus demo/vigil schedules – spring 2014 by 1gabriela
Unfortunately, every spring semester at George Mason University signals the arrival of the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. ARC – along with community members – have protested Ringling’s animal cruelty for several years and are ready to do so once again.

To read more about ARC’s anti-Ringling efforts in the past (including our past petitions, support from Student Senate & the passing of Resolution 23, as well as Mason media coverage of the demos/vigils), click here. For more information about animal abuse in circuses, particularly Ringling, please check out RinglingBeatsAnimals.com.

Contrary to popular belief, animal circuses do not provide any sort of cultural enrichment nor notion of environmental conservation; and instead, promote poaching, exploitation (both human and nonhuman), captivity, and cruel practices. Please consider lending your voice to animals.

We welcome anyone and everyone to the demos and even provide signs and materials for each demo/vigil. Please disseminate this page as well!

Below are the list of demos and vigils beginning this Wednesday, April 9th.

Meet at  Patriot Center, Fairfax VA (GMU campus), at the Will-Call area on Po River Ln, close to the intersection with Roanoke River Ln (where we always are for protests)
 

Wednesday, April 9 (opening night in FFX): Vigil at 9:00 pm

Friday, April 11: Vigil at 9:30p

Saturday, April 12: 5:30p – 8:00p (vigil for the end of one show and leaflet for the beginning of the next)

Sunday, April 13: 3:00p – 5:30p   (vigil for the end of one show and leaflet for the beginning of the next)

Thursday, April 17: 9:00p Vigil

Friday, April 18: 9:30p Vigil

Saturday, April 19: 5:30p – 8:00p   (vigil for the end of one show and leaflet for the beginning of the next)

Sunday, April 20 (Final show for them in our area): 3:00p – 5:30p  (vigil for the end of one show and leaflet for the beginning of the next)

To further emphasize the importance of these efforts, here some photos taken by ARC precisely ON CAMPUS in the last two years.

"Handler" pulls down the elephant's head with a bullhook, which resembles a fire-poker and are quite painful (Spring 2012)

“Handler” pulls down the elephant’s head with a bullhook, which resembles a fire-poker and are quite painful (Spring 2012)

"Handler" with a closer look at the billhook (Spring 2012)

“Handler” with a closer look at the billhook (Spring 2012)

Performers struggle with one of the dogs (Spring 2013)

Performers struggle with one of the dogs (Spring 2013)

Unhealthy conditions of the llamas; just look at their (lack of) fur! (Spring 2013)

Unhealthy conditions of the llamas; just look at their (lack of) fur! (Spring 2013)

"Handler" using the bullhook on elephant (Spring 2013)

“Handler” using the bullhook on elephant (Spring 2013)



The 30-Day Vegan Challenge! Join us this Friday with author Colleen Patrick-Goudreau by christine
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 by christine

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! 




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 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