I just came back from the first ever Worldwide Circus Summit in Springfield, Massachusetts last week.
It was a wonderful gathering of circus people, circus fans, and friends! I had a blast meeting new people, connecting with old Ringling pals, and banding together with fellow circus fans to talk about clowning.
I love my job!
It was a great experience to sit on a panel discussing the state of circus clowning today with my friends David Carlyon, Greg DeSanto, Bruce Johnson, David Kiser, Barry Lubin, and Peggy Williams.
And we even managed to wrangle most of the clowns together for a group photo!
One of the main topics discussed at the Summit was recent developments across the country in regards to animal rights activists.
It was very moving to hear circus owners and animal trainers talk at length of the impacts of recent legislation barring performing animals (especially elephants) in certain regions.
As of 2016, Ringling will be phasing out their elephants.
Right now my daughter Julia is in Ringling’s Red Unit, with their very last touring elephant show in California. California has legislated performing elephant acts out of its borders. To be able to play a huge market like California the circus was left no choice but to retire their elephant acts.
It was heartbreaking to hear these folks talk about the verbal abuse, physical abuse, and vandalism they have suffered at the hands of protesters and activists.
These animals are part of their families and livelihoods. These animals are like family pets and are loved and cared for.
I was with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for three years and I saw first-hand how well cared for the animals were.
Circus folks are easy targets, since they move around the country it is difficult for them to file police reports when problems occur.
What can you do to help?
They asked the circus fans to contact their local legislatures to show their support for circus and animal acts.
Don’t wait until it is too late.
Here are two links to help you find your local representatives:
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