I began attending circus protests more than 25 years ago. One circus after another rolled into D.C. and stayed, for what seemed like, forever. Each exploited wild animals all in the name of "entertainment." In 1995 Newt Gingrich, then speaker of the House, and other members of Congress celebrated the 175th anniversary of the Ringling Brothers Circus on the lawn of the Capitol. I was there nearby along with a bus load of DCPS students. We peacefully protested the mistreatment of circus animals. Students wore shirts with SAVE -- Students Against Violent Entertainment -- emblazoned across their chests, waved posters depicting chained elephants and bears in tutus, and chanted "Ho Ho, Stop the Abuse, Ringling Brothers has got to GO".
They went, but after their run. And, they came back. Ringling Brothers comes to the area at the same time year after year. They know, however, that they are definitely wearing out their welcome. Ringling Brothers, with their Greatest Show On Earth signed traveling trailers filled with chained elephants and caged lions, tigers, and bears, and an assortment of exotic animals pulls into town. But, I know that their business has dropped off. It used to be that that circus took up residence at the D.C. Armory for two or more weeks. This year they are advertising just nine performances over four days at the Verizon Center. AND sales of those show tickets are heavily discounted through ticket brokers.
People are getting it. Young people especially. The Birney Elementary School students who, in 1997, helped the Humane Society of the United States create the video, Behind the Big Top, The Real Life of Circus Animals, are now adults. Those students who took their campaign against cruelty it to the streets for lawmakers, passersby and news crews to see are now adults. Kids who have grown up watching Discovery and Nature videos are now adults, too. And, these young adults know the truth, and will NOT pay to watch animal abuse. They are going to end it. And, they may even be the ones passing out leaflets depicting the truth about circus animals in front of the Verizon Center March 24 27.
Post a Comment