Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Freshly Beaten for Your Entertainment!

* I feel I should post a disclaimer regarding this particular post.

1. I am not a PETA member. I feel that sometimes they garner a lot of negative attention (not all press is good press) through their tactics which, at times, can be extreme. But then, so are the injustices happening to animals every day in shocking numbers. Often times you experience negative feedback from the public when they find PETA's emblem punctuating signs and flyers, as they see PETA as an extremist organization. I am not an extremist.

2. I am not writing this to judge anybody who has been or used to go to circuses. Many people aren't aware of what is going on behind the scenes and that isn't necessarily their faults. I write this in the hope that perhaps I'll open eyes to an unfortunate truth that people don't often realize.

I was asked to join in a demonstration against The Ringling Bro's circus due to their blatant use of cruelty when it comes to the animals unfortunate enough to be in their shows. I agreed since I feel that you should practice what you preach and I've been a supporter of animal rights since I can remember (6 or so?) but had yet to really participate in a protest, so I figured I should get the ball rolling on that.

We arrived at 11 a.m. and held signs with pictures depicting the methods that Barnum and Bailey use to "train" their animals.

This is an extremely common "method".

For over an hour we displayed the harsh truth before the ticket windows under our blazing Tucson sun. We were met with looks of guilt, looks of annoyance, looks of hate, looks of sadness and about 50% of the time the crowds tried to just plain ignore the signs or flyers. Much like we ignore the homeless, the "problem" children, the environment, the meat industry and so on. It seems people have a longstanding love affair with simply ignoring problems. Because ignorance is bliss right?

Hmmmm...real blissful.

It broke my heart to watch person after person continue to pay money, to actively support the abuse that we were showing them, to see the show.

Where are we as a country, as a people, that we're willing to compromise the lives of other beings for cheap entertainment?

What caught me the most was a little boy who couldn't have been more than 5, who I could hear speaking behind me to his parents about how "they're hurting baby animals back there mom. I don't want to go to this show. This makes me sad. They should treat their animals better." His parents simply shushed his understandably worried remarks and continued to fill him with lies so they could go on with their entertainment. I was so angry on many levels. Why are we LYING to our children?! How is it that a 4 year old can grasp what is so fundamentally wrong and a 34 year old can't? Are we trying to spare their innocence or are we simply paving the way for more people to close their eyes and pretend that it's all cool when it so very much isn't? We even get a few people trying to debate with us about pro-life/pro-choice. Which is funny because if one claims to be pro-life, shouldn't that be for ALL living things? But that is neither here nor there.
We had a couple people leave after speaking to us and vowed never to come back. We had some people say they were still going to the show since they purchased tickets but weren't coming back thereafter. And that is what you do it for. For the future. For the hope.

Please educate yourselves on where your money is going. Educate yourselves on what happens before and after the curtain goes down. There are alternatives for entertainment (Cirque Du Soleil being one of the most famous, which is cruelty-free and WAY more cool to watch).

Because we can't expect to evolve as people when we can accept the abuse that other living creatures endure. Because these animals are not OURS.

Because there has to be a better way.

Facts and solutions can be found at many sites, but to list a few-


Chelsea said...

that's terrible.


i just thought those people were crazy, but it seems like they're right.

Amanda said...

Yes, unfortunately because of PETA's tactics in the past (the paint throwing, the in your face-ness) people have simply lumped them into the same category as lunatics and fanatics. There are better ways to protest. We don't yell. We don't hand out flyers to children (we aren't their parents). We don't do crazy outlandish stuff and generally we wait until we're approached and asked to expound on details. PETA has some crazy ways, some times damaging to their own name, but I suppose you have to to get things done sometimes.