Darien, Connecticut—Friends of Animals (FoA) and Animal Rights Front (ARF) will be joined by Connecticut Compassion in Entertainment and A.W.A.R.E. to protest the arrival of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus at 6:30 pm, Wed., May 15th at the Hartford Civic Center.

Says FoA president Priscilla Feral, “Dressing animals in costumes and forcing them to perform tricks robs them of their dignity and the respect they deserve. Elephants, big cats and other ‘exotics’ belong in their homelands, not under the bright lights of a circus ring for commercial entertainment.”

Ringling Brothers is now traveling with Asian elephants, Bengal tigers, zebras, alligators, snakes and horses. Recent promotional ads have announced that Ringling has more animal acts than ever before. Scheduled “performers” at the Hartford show include “Sara the Tiger Whisperer” and “T.M. the Gator Guy.”

Feral asserts: “Wild animals don’t do headstands or jump through fire because they enjoy it; they do it out of fear of punishment. We have to stop teaching our kids that they should applaud this kind of animal slavery, abusive confinement and training, and hideous exploitation.”

Successful displays of grassroots activism are causing an increasing number of towns to be off-limits to circuses with animal acts by banning the use of exotic animals for public entertainment. Last year, one Fairfield County, Conn., civic organization became sensitive to circus critics after several years of protests, and stopped using the Clyde-Beatty Cole Brothers Circus as a fundraiser, FoA says.