December 7, 2006
A local animal advocacy group held a demonstration rally on Thursday night.
They were protesting outside the John Paul Jones arena where the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus was hosting its opening night.
VFA say's that Ringling is guilty of harsh animal cruelty.
"What's not shown is the behind the scenes look at the animals. What
goes on outside of the big top, that's what they wont tell anyone," said Rooshin Dalal, a member of VFA.
Dalal, and his organization, think it's important to protest because of what they think Ringling is trying to hide.
"I think that the public, unfortunately, doesn't get the full story on
what the circus involves. Namely, where the animals come from, how they are treated, and what they go through in order to end up with the final version of what you see in the ring," said Dalal.
"They're here first. It's always about the animals, so we take care of
the animals," said Jason Gibson, Production Manager of the circus.
A written statement from Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey circus says that they full comply with industry regulations as set by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The circus here in Charlottesville was fully aware of the protests going on and say they want everyone to know that they take proper care of their animals.
"I invited them (protesters) in to see our show, we'll open our backstage area up to see how the animals are, they are very well taken care of," said Jon Weiss, Circus Host.
The circus will run until Sunday.