Last night (April 20) concluded 5 weeks of “Vegan Actions on behalf of Animals Used as Entertainment” at the Ringling circus. At DC, Baltimore and N. VA a variety of activist groups were there to inform the public of the realities of the entertainment industry’s use of other animals.
This year was unlike the past 8 years. This year cops did not harass activists. We were able to have great one-on-one conversations with people on the street.
This year the response from the public was predominantly positive toward the animals. Over and over we heard “You are right, they do deserve their freedom; we won’t come to the circus again.” And “You are right. I saw how sad the animals are in the show. I won’t come to the circus again.” One woman who had not yet bought her ticket, saw our protest, talked with activists, and told us she was not going to the circus and never would. She left without buying a ticket. We usually have a few encounters like that every year.
This year a family coming from the circus joined us for our post-show vigil. The teenage daughter told me she felt like a hypocrite. I told her “No, you are not a hypocrite; you did not know. There was a time every activist here did not know, but now that we do we are doing something about it.” Her mother signed up to be a pledge at the Peace Advocacy Network’s Vegan Pledge Program which starts next week. Animals do not exist for humans to use for any purpose. We will keep saying it until the world hears us.
In the past several months more countries have banned the use of animals in traveling acts. India, where the Asian elephants are poached and their babies taken to sell to the circus, passed a law against the use of elephants for entertainment. The tide is changing, folks. In the United States, The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, which would prohibit the use of wild animals in circuses across the U.S., has continued to gain Congressional cosponsors over the years. It will happen here. It should be an embarrassment to every US citizen that it hasn’t yet.
This week another circus is coming to the DC-area. It is the one infamous for being exposed when a circus employee turned activist, and took a hidden camera into the barn to record the horrific industry-standard practice of systematic abuse to break animals. We will be there, too, to speak for the victims of the entertainment industry and about every other human-caused atrocity. It is time to end the animal holocaust! Live vegan!