Mar 19 2013
International Business Times: Ringling Brothers Circus At Barclays Center Meets With Protests Over Treatment Of Elephants
The storied Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will appear at Brooklyn’s new Barclays Center for the first time this week, but not everyone is juggling for joy.
Several animal-rights organizations are banding together to protest what they say is Ringling’s habitual and systemic mistreatment of the exotic animals in its shows, in particular Asian elephants, which are commonly used as peformance animals. The protests will kick off with a large opening-night demonstration on Wednesday evening and continue during select circus performances through April 1.
Some of the groups involved include Animal Defenders International (AD-I) and In Defense of Animals (IDA), as well local supporters of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Organizers say Ringling’s history of animal abuse dates back several decades.
“Ringling Bros. has a very long, very dark past with regard to treatment and training practices,” said Erika Mansourian, a volunteer coordinator who is helping AD-I with the protests.
Animal-rights activists have long condemned the use of elephants for the purposes of entertainment. Elephants are believed to be among the most intelligent species on earth, experiencing a range of complex emotions, self-awareness and even language. They are also nomadic by nature, roaming up to 50 miles a day in the wild — a fact that Mansourian said makes captivity particularly agonizing for the species.