Animal Rights Collective Blog


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.

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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