The Ringling Bros. circus meets protesters at UT's Erwin Center
For those unaware of circus life and the national extravaganza that is The Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey BARNUM 200 circus, “The Greatest Show On Earth” set up tent for its first show at 7:30pm in Austin’s own Frank Erwin Center on Thursday.
But the over 100 year-old circus isn’t always greeted with fanfare when it rolls into town. Action for Animals Austin gathered nearly 100 protesters Wednesday evening from 6:00pm – 7:30pm as the circus prepared for the next day’s festivities, demonstrating their distaste for what the animal rights group argues is animal cruelty.
The ethics of capturing animals for performance has been a topic of debate for years, but recent photos revealing the inner workings of The Ringling Bros. elephant training facility have caused quite a stir in animal activism.
Action for Animals has discouraged using signs and activism t-shirts for the rest of the week’s circus performances, instead hoping that participants will help to hand out informational leaflets outside the event until RinglingBros. leaves town on the 21st.
In anticipation of such criticism, The Ringling Bros. has an Animal Care FAQ on their website to answer any questions regarding the treatment and safety of animals used in circus acts.
Anyone interested in handing out leaflets for the duration of the Ringling Bros. performances can visit the Action for Animals website for more information and rules for activism etiquette.