Animal rights group plans picket of Ringling Bros. circus in Manchester today
MANCHESTER - Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus may have retired its elephants, but protesters say their work is not done yet.
The New Hampshire Animal League said it plans protests outside Saturday and Sunday performances at the Verizon Wireless Arena, alleging other animals used in the performances are "still abused and mistreated."
"Although elephants will no longer be forced to perform tricks, or be beaten with sharp metal bull hooks, the New Hampshire Animal Rights League and local PETA supporters will rally against the use and abuse of all animals in circuses," the group said in a statement. "Lions and tigers are also whipped."
The circus retired its herd of performing Asian elephants last month. Elephants have been used in the circus in America for more than 200 years. In the early 1800s, Hackaliah Bailey added the elephant "Old Bet" to his circus. P.T. Barnum added the African elephant he named "Jumbo" to "The Greatest Show on Earth" in 1882.
The retired elephants will live at Ringling's 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida, said Alana Feld, executive vice president of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus. Its herd of 40 Asian elephants, the largest in North America, will continue a breeding program and be used in a pediatric cancer research project.
The New Hampshire Animal League charges that cruelty is not entertainment and Ringling should retire the elephants to true sanctuaries, along with every big cat, camel, and other animals the circus forces to perform.