Animal rights protest the circus

James Macias, Features Editor

Animal rights protestors were seen making some noise at the Ringling Bro. and Barnum & Bailey’s Circus at Robobank arena this past weekend.

To this end many people here in America (and abroad) have formed protest organizations intent on forcing (usually through legislation but other less legal measures have been attempted) people to be more humane in their treatment of animals. Animal Defense International is an international organization with a local chapter and a powerful message. “Stop Circus Animal Suffering” is both a slogan and another name this organization often goes by. Local members of of this movement came out to harass the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baileys circus event which recently inhabited the Rabobank arena.

Julia Davis, 48, of Bakersfield was on hand to help explain why the animals of such a well-known and respected institution need be saved or protected. “We are trying to educate the public about the inhumane treatment of circus animals ,” she said.

“The circus animals spend their lives being brought from city to city to city, most of the time spending their lives chained up in cages, and so, it’s not a real high quality of life for the animals,” she said.

“Oftentimes, they perform under threat of punishment, and, so, that’s a concern for us,” she said.

Davis wants people to boycott the circus altogether. She is a strong advocate of circuses that do not employ animals at all.

“Just encouraging people to go to circuses that don’t have animals but just have human acts, such as Cirque Du Soleil, Circus Vargas and if you look online you can see a whole list of circuses without animals,” she said.

There was a strong sense of futility among her and her cohorts, even though recent legislation could be considered a major victory for them; specifically, California Senate Bill 1062 banning the use of bull hooks on elephants in circuses and traveling shows.

This new law has prompted Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baileys Circus to remove elephants from their California shows altogether. This would open the door for more far reaching and comprehensive legislation in the future. Davis said that it was a good start and interrupted herself accosting a passerby with a pamphlet and a smile.

“They also lost one of their tigers years ago, it died in a train car because the air-conditioning out as they were passing  through the Mojave desert” she said.

There were only a few people participating in Julia’s protest, including one protestor who appeared in costume with a streak of stuffed tigers on his head and strapped to his body.

“They use 8-foot cages and animals are mistreated, they harm the animals with devices” was a sort of mantra that he recited at random while handing out literature.