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).

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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.



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



Judge Allows Ringling Bros. to Continue to Abuse Elephants by christine

This past year has exposed many truths about the horrible conditions and cruelties that circus animals endure for the lavish demands of entertainment. From the newly released photos of baby elephants being abused with bulhooks, electric prods, ropes and chains, to the footage of Ringling trainers striking elephants that was exposed as part of an undercover investigation by PETA just last summer. Apparently, Judge Sullivan refuses to listen.

Pardo states that “this ruling represents a victory for the elephants,” a completely surreal and twisted testimony to her ignorance.

Ask the USDA to end the use of bullhooks and chains here.

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Judge rules for Ringling Bros. in elephant case

The Associated Press

Wednesday, December 30, 2009; 10:14 PM

WASHINGTON — A federal judge Wednesday ruled in favor of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in a case brought by animal rights activists who accused the circus of abusing elephants.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan said former Ringling employee Tom Rider and the Animal Protection Institute did not have legal standing to sue the circus, owned by Feld Entertainment Inc. Rider and the animal protection group brought the lawsuit under the Endangered Species Act.

During the six-week trial in February and March of this year, the attorney for the animal rights groups asked the judge to stop the circus from harming the elephants during performances and punishing them for bad behavior. They alleged that the use of bullhooks and prolonged chaining violated the federal law.

Feld Entertainment argued that the animals are not hurt and that the instruments are necessary to keep the pachyderms under control and protect public safety.

At the time, the judge expressed some reluctance to police circus methods and asked how the prods and chains are different from spurs used on horses and whips with tigers.

Ringling Bros. said during the trial it cannot have the Asian elephants without these instruments because there is no other proven way to keep the animals under control and protect their trainers and the viewing public.

Feld’s attorneys said their elephants are healthy, alert and well-cared for, including those that travel with the show and those that live at the company’s 200-acre conservatory in Florida.

“This ruling represents a victory for the elephants and a win for the U.S. Constitution because it reinforces that the federal court is no place to entertain a philosophical debate about whether elephants should be in the circus,” said Michelle Pardo, an attorney representing Feld Entertainment.

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This is what a victory for elephants looks like?