Not clowning around


    The circus is coming to Los Angeles. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s caravan rolls up on July 21 and will unload its collection of animals, shackled and caged, like pieces of furniture from a Mayflower van.

    If you pay to see the show, you will get more than hot popcorn and a few hours under the big top. You’ll walk away with the blood of animals on your hands. Ringling Bros. is responsible for the deaths of many animals and has violated the Animal Welfare Act numerous times. Here are the latest:

    January 1998: Kenny a baby Asian elephant, died after he was forced to perform in three shows in one day even though he was obviously ill. The U.S. Department of Agriculture agreed that Ringling had broken animal protection laws and demanded that Ringling pay $20,000 to charities helping elephants.

    January 1998: Trainer Graham Chipperfield shot a Bengal tiger to death after the animal attacked Chipperfield’s brother Richard during a publicity photo session. Chipperfield subdued the tiger and put him in his cage, then took a shotgun and blasted him five times, shouting profanities at the tiger as he died. Chipperfield later resigned.

    February 1999: As Ringling workers unloaded the animals in Norfolk, Va., a horse collapsed a died on the street. An employee from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was videotaping the unloading and caught the incident on tape. Circus personnel cursed and shouted at the camera man in an effort to stop the documentation of one of their animals dying.

    Please don’t give your money to Ringling Bros. Take in a movie, read a book, go rollerblading. Or take the kids (who are too young to understand that animals are exploited for money) and go for a walk. Enjoy your freedom. If enough of us stay away, profiteering animal abusers will fold up their tents and go home.

    Kathy Guillermo

    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals