Protesters expected at circus in NH after some complain of mistreatment of animals
BRISTOL — Another circus. Another protest.
“It’s even worse than Ringling as far as I’m concerned,” said local animal rights activist Kristina Snyder.
The Kelly Miller Circus is in Bristol for the second day. They then travel to Massachusetts for shows this weekend before coming back Tuesday to Hillsborough. Snyder said they expect a pretty big group of protesters Thursday in Bristol as well as in Hillsborough next week.
Smaller circuses like the Kelly Miller Circus perform several shows at several different venues a week.
“The animals are just being constantly packed up and carted around,” Snyder said. “The animals will defecate, eat and sleep in the same place. It’s just depressing.”
Snyder said during the protest Wednesday night she got to talk to one of the animal handlers named Carolyn who said she actually owns some of the animals in the circus. In a prepared statement she gave Snyder, Carolyn writes, “We have a lot in common you and I (sic)– we love animals.”
She goes on to say, “You’re love is displayed in a desire to protect animals for (sic) perceived abuse. You want to do this by taking animals away from people who own them. But perhaps you own animals too and love them as much as I love my animals. You don’t know me or my animals.”
But Snyder said she’s seen enough.
“Ringling is gone but there are a lot of these little venues that go under the radar,” she said.
Snyder said the circuses will go from small town to small town. If one town passes ordinances to outlaw circus animals, they will just move on to the next town.
Snyder said they’ve received a great deal of support in Bristol. Many people have stopped by to tell them they don’t agree with the treatment of circus animals.
NH1 News tried to get in touch with the Kelly Miller Circus but have not received a reply. We will update this story if and when we hear back from them.
The Kelly Miller Circus does have a section on its website that discusses the care of their animals.
“The Kelly Miller Circus exceeds all federal animal welfare standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Animal Welfare Act. We are regulated by and inspected frequently by the USDA, state and local authorities. The Kelly Miller Circus is a member of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association and have committed to the standards of animal care set by this organization.”
But Snyder said the culture is changing. Many people no longer feel comfortable going to the circus and watching animals perform. She says this is the shift that will ultimately stop circus animal performances. “I don’t fault people I just want to educate people.”