10 May 2007, Hartford, Conn. ““ Friends of Animals held a peaceful yet spirited rally outside the Hartford Civic Center on Wednesday, May 9, when the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus arrived for a week of performances. Activists raised awareness about circus acts in which animals such as horses, elephants, tigers, and zebras perform for local students and families.
The point isn’t only about how the animals are treated, the activists observed, but that nonhuman animals are used in circuses at all.
“Depriving animals of their freedom so they will entertain us is mistreatment,” said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, interviewed for WTNH by ABC’s Erin Cox.
“No matter if they are taken from their lands or bred for the purpose, animals don’t endure travel from town to town and parade in glitter because they want to,” Feral added. “They do it because a profit-based company imposes its will on them, and customers pay for it.”
The rally attracted news coverage from every network-affiliated Connecticut television station: ABC News covered it for New Haven, and Hartford coverage included Fox, CBS and NBC. Signs reading “The Saddest Show on Earth” and “Once a Year for You, 365 Days in Chains for Them” were filmed for the 10 and 11 o’clock p.m. news on May 9.
The vigil received positive feedback from pedestrians and circus customers alike, many of whom took brochures, and thanked the activists for their presence. A special thanks to Nancy, Justin, Stacy and others… for the excellent public outreach.
Friends of Animals also suggested that Connecticut residents support entertainment and art that relies on human talent, such as the Cirque du Soleil’s “Delirium” performance, which will appear in Bridgeport on July 5 and 6.