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Columbia Violating Free Speech Rights, Says Group
For Immediate Release:January 5, 2010
Contact:Kristie Phelps 757-622-7382
Columbia, S.C. -- Before the Columbia City Council on Wednesday, PETA will appeal the city police department's denial of the group's request to temporarily display an anti-circus statue in the city. PETA's legal counsel wrote to the City Council pointing out that the anti-circus sad-elephant display, called "Ella PhantzPeril," already satisfies all the city's requirements pertaining to such exhibits. City officials are expected to make a final decision this week:
When: Wednesday, January 6, 6 p.m.
Where: A.C. Moore Elementary School, 333 Etiwan Ave.
PETA sought to place the statue in advance of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus's scheduled performances in Columbia in February. A former Ringling elephant handler recently gave PETA dozens of never-before-seen photos that show the violent training methods that the circus uses on baby elephants. The photos document that still-nursing baby elephants are captured rodeo-style and dragged away from their mothers. The babies scream and struggle frantically as they are wrestled, stretched out, pushed to the ground, gouged with steel-tipped bullhooks, and shocked with electric prods. A recent PETA undercover investigation documented that Ringling routinely beats elephants with bullhooks backstage moments before performances.
"People in Columbia have the right to know about the violent and cruel training methods Ringling uses on baby elephants, and PETA has a right to show them what's going on," says PETA Director Debbie Leahy. "By denying our permit, the city is helping the circus hide animal abuse and is suppressing free speech." Designed by renowned New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss, PETA's sad-elephant sculpture, "Ella PhantzPeril," depicts a shackled baby elephant and includes the inscription "See Shackles, Bullhooks, Loneliness--All Under the Big Top."
PETA's correspondence with the city is available upon request. For more information, please visit RinglingBeatsAnimals.com.
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.