PETA protests at Southside Elementary


PETA protests at Southside Elementary


Date: December 9, 2009
by: Robin Roy | City Editor


Parents didn’t seem to mind that animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals chose Southside Elementary School to hold a protest against Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus Wednesday.

“I think it’s great,” said Autumn Venafre.

A PETA employee in an elephant costume with a red-stained bandage on its head was meant to demonstrate the injuries sustained by the circus elephants.

As school let out, children ran up to the elephant to hug it and give it high-fives. PETA workers handed out stickers, coloring books and comic books that illustrated in terms kids can understand how elephants are captured by and treated at the circus

PETA said its undercover investigation showed circus workers hitting the elephants with bullhooks, which the group said forces the animals to perform tricks.

“Wild animals can’t be trained with positive reinforcement, so they have to be beaten,” said Amanda Fortino, PETA campaign coordinator.

Asked why the animal-rights group was protesting outside an elementary school, Fortino said kids are naturally compassionate, and they may not want to attend the circus if they know animals are being mistreated.

“We’re asking parents and kids and teachers to boycott the circus,” she said.

The school board called parents Tuesday night to tell them that PETA would be protesting at Southside.

“We knew about it and talked about it,” said Michael Klein, who was picking up his two children.

The protest comes three weeks before the Ringling Bros. circus comes to Sarasota.

Contact Robin Roy at

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Currently 6 Responses

  • 1.
  • According to their cafeteria menu, the children ate BEEFARONI Wednesday. No cruelty in that, eh?
  • angus ham
    Fri 11th Dec 2009
    at 3:57pm
  • 2.
  • For those of us who have witnessed it firsthand the behind-the-scenes Circus animal "care" is an absolute nightmare. Be thankful the educational programming PETA is offering is a soft cuddly, version of the bloody and indescribable horrors that exist when out of control handlers and trainers beat, burn and quite simply torture these poor captive/prisoner animals. When performing they are like old chain gang prisoners...marched around dressed up in pretty colors while having been brutalized to behave the way they do.
    THANK YOU PETA for having the courage to go public with this inexcusable industry. They are highly intelligent animals who eventually go totally bonkers and run-usually taking innocent bystanders with them. Enough of this-it is 2010- admit that the old time circus did not have access to the animal behavioral research, did terrible things to animals and stop letting the $$$$spin$$$ doctors of the Circus industry keep this sick spectacle going.
    Let your children watch animals on the Discovery channel and support one of the brilliant modern non-exotic animal Circuses- Circus Soleil, etc., etc.

    Can't clean up the planet if we keep wallowing in the $$sewers$$$!!!!
  • Astrid Hensel
    Fri 11th Dec 2009
    at 1:47pm
  • 3.
  • How would you, John Lear, pretend to know along with the PETA idiots that the elephants are mistreated? The elephants are a revenue generating source for the circus. To mistreat them would be bad business. Children are impressionable and bend to the adult pressure around them for approval. To assault children for a misguided adult and probably left wing cause is unpardonable. I care about animals and circus animals being one of the life bloods of a circus are hardly mistreated. Your whining is typical left wing garbage. Next you'll want to dictate my health care and my carbon dioxide exhaling.
  • Milan Adrian
    Thu 10th Dec 2009
    at 7:42pm
  • 4.
  • milan.....what are you smoking...?...the children should know how the animals are mistreated....i am disappointed in you.....
  • john lear
    Thu 10th Dec 2009
    at 3:33pm
  • 5.
  • The protesters are actually quite educated particularly on the subject of animal cruelty. The article didn't mention anything about an attack. It did say, however, that children are compassionate. They have a right to know how the animals are treated and that they are forced to live in very small cages. It just might make them feel differently and choose not to go to the circus.
  • Catherine Ellis
    Thu 10th Dec 2009
    at 12:11pm
  • 6.
  • These protesters are a bunch of idiots. To attack an elementary school with such vehemence with lies about the circus is unconscionable.
  • Milan Adrian
    Wed 9th Dec 2009
    at 5:19pm
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