When the Ringling Bros. Circus comes to town, the advertising blitz begins. But, in Denver this year, it will look a bit different. The Animal Action Network, a local non-profit animal welfare group, has launched an advertising campaign showing the reality of life for circus animals behind the big top.
For the next month, this group has anti-circus advertisements prominently placed on the side of 30 RTD buses running numerous routes in the Denver Metro Area. Shuttles in the downtown Denver pedestrian mall area also feature 25 anti-circus spots inside the buses.
The local grassroots effort in Denver is part of a growing international movement, shedding light on what circus animal performers endure, all in the name of entertainment. Countries around the world, as well as many municipalities here in the US, have already banned the use of wild animals in circuses. This month, West Hollywood’s City Council joined the movement voting unanimously to ban the "Commercial Display & Performance of Exotic Animals.”
The Animal Action Network points out that, with most of their days spent in trailers, cages, or chains, circus animals are being deprived of five basic freedoms: freedom from pain, injury or disease; freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from fear and distress; freedom from discomfort; and freedom to express normal behaviors.
Circus tricks resemble nothing wild animals actually do in the wild. The animals are left with lifelong, debilitating, painful medical conditions after years of performing. Undercover videos reveal domination and fear being used as standard training practices, including shocking, whipping, and beatings with bull hooks. In fact, in 2011, Ringling Bros. paid the largest fine in US history for alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
The Animal Action Network’s latest educational campaign graphically depicts circus life from the animals’ perspective. Donations have been solicited for the past seven months to fund this campaign. The group is hoping to reach more people, with this bus advertisement campaign, than the 10 billboards they placed last year.
Animal Action Network organizer Peter Swissdorf explains, “There are many wonderful local opportunities right here in Colorado to show children the beauty of wild animals. The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg is a perfect example of formerly abused wildlife living free and healthy lives. Animal Action Network’s goal is to get this information out to the public, and let the people decide."
For more information about the planned Denver Ringling demonstrations, click HERE.