When Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus brought the Cruelest Show on Earth to Norfolk, Virginia, where PETA is headquartered, we were waiting for it with a demonstration 75 people strong.
Why are we so riled at Ringling? Here are the top five reasons it's better to protest Ringling than to attend a performance:
- Ringling tears families apart—ripping baby elephants away from their mothers to spend a lifetime in the circus—but protesting brings families together.
- Four dead baby elephants—and counting. Babies Bertha, Kenny, Benjamin, and Riccardo have all died since 1992. Baby elephant Barack was recently pulled from the road when he became very sick with the stress-related and often fatal disease EEHV for the second time in his young life.
- Ringling's "training" consists of beating elephants with steel-tipped bullhooks, sometimes until they're bloody. Handlers cover the wounds with a gray powder called "Wonder Dust."
- When they aren't being forced to perform, elephants are often chained inside filthy, poorly ventilated boxcars for 26 straight hours, on average, and sometimes for 60 to 70 and even 100 hours at a time while they're traveling.
- And the best reason of all … you can perform the spectacular feat of caring. Anybody can do a belly flop into a net, but how many people can say they helped to protect animals from cruelty today?
Written by Michelle Sherrow