Animal rights activists in Everett, Washington, planned to turn out to protest the arrival of The Ringling Bros.. and Barnum & Bailey Circus there in September. News coverage of the planned protest provided an interesting contrast between the circus and activists.
Along with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Progressive Animal Welfare Society of Lynwood planned to protest and hand out leaflets outside the circus. According to Washington state newspaper The Herald,
PAWS, along with People for the Ethical Treatment of ANimals and the Northwest Animal Rights Network, will be in front of the Everett Events Center passing out brochures to circus-goers and ticket buyers.
. . .
[PAWS spokeswoman Zibby] Wilder said PAWS objects to circuses keeping wild and exotic animals captive for entertainment. Many circuses, including Ringling Bros., subject animals to a variety of abuses, the group claims.
“We’re giving information so people can make a more informed decision next time,” Wilder said.
Ringling Bros. spokeswoman Melinda Rosser had a different take on Wilder’s efforts to educate circus-goers. According to The Herald,
“All we hand out is the facts. We want them to think about it,” Wilder said. “We live in an area that’s known for its wildlife awareness. The circus is no different — those animals need to be cared for and protected.
One of the handouts is a circus coloring book for children. It shows elephants in chains, bears in costume and a tiger jumping through flaming hoops.
Rosser said the coloring book is yet another example of lumping circuses together — Ringling Bros. has no bears, no fire hoops and no animals wearing clothing.
Wilder’s group did convince a local automobile dealership to promise that, in the future, it wouldn’t sponsor radio advertisements for the circus. Brien Motors owner Rock Peterson wrote the group saying,
After reading about the treatment of animals by circuses, I agree with you that we . . . should not be associated with that type of activity.
According to Wilder, Peterson was the only one of the circus sponsors who responded to letters the group sent.
Protest follows circus. Jennifer Warnick, The Herald (Washington), September 13, 2004.