Featured image by Martyn Stewart.
You may have already seen the commercials around the Puget Sound. The circus is in town. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey (RBBB) circus comes to various locations in our area, including Everett shows last weekend.
Unfortunately, this archaic operation still uses animals such as elephants and tigers who are forced to perform for onlookers by cruel means of coercion and outright animal abuse.
The City of Seattle (as well as a long list of cites and countries) banned the circus years ago, but some cites have not yet come up to speed that animal cruelty, regardless of its form, is unacceptable. Recently, one conscientious resident in Puget Sound wrote into the Seattle Times stating, “This abuse is a widely-known fact and is publicized over and over again, and yet we, as a community, are allowing the circus to come to town. Come on, Washington!” (ref: Seattle Times, Sept. 23, Here comes the circus.)
So some local citizens are taking the matter directly to the public by educating circus goers outside the Ringling Brothers circus performance entrance. Amy Webster was one such activist who spoke out to educate the public.
“When the RBBB circus comes to a venue near me, I must speak up,” says Webster. “Many families go because it’s great entertainment for them. But what they don’t realize is the inherent cruelty in the circuses with animals. I have seen many undercover and behind the scenes video footage of elephants chained, beaten, and caged just so they can perform for us. It’s absolutely unnecessary and shameful. We need to teach our children to choose not to support such cruelty, no matter how well the show is advertised, or how cheap the tickets are. There are plenty of non-animal acrobat shows that are wildly entertaining where all participants are willing. ”
Webster estimates that around 100 protesters held signs and talked to circus attendees about the cruelty to animals and the alternatives.
“I was surprised at how many people received us well and were open to learning about something they didn’t know. We asked folks with tickets to see the show but look into our claims and make this their last circus.”
Local circus protests around the state are organized by various animal welfare groups. The Northwest Animal Rights Network (NARN) along with other groups locally have been supporting the protests in Everett and Kent.
Webster says that a good way to get involved locally and help spread the word about circus abuse of animals is to sign up for alerts from NARN, Action for Animals, In Defense of Animals, and PETA who provide information on demonstrations, petitions, and calls to action. Local citizens can also join protests at the circus shows.
“Whenever the circus is in the Seattle area, there will always be protesters there too, working hard to stand up for the animals inside who unwillingly and painfully give their lives for a two-hour show, and we welcome anyone who wants to join us.” explains Webster.
To learn more about the Northwest Animal Rights Network, visit narn.org.