Scenes From the Cole Bros. Circus Protest This Weekend

Animal-rights activists have long decried circuses as one of the most blatant and correctable violators of animal rights. (Stampeding and screaming elephants have long agreed.)   And the Cole Bros. Circus, which was in Boca Raton this weekend and will travel around South Florida for the next month, is one of those old-school circuses that protesters say is a prime offender.

The Fort Lauderdale-based Animal Rights Foundation of Florida organized a protest outside the fairground Saturday afternoon. From the edge of the lot, a few hundred feet from where families lined up to ride on the back of an elephant, activists waved signs and told patrons that their tickets were "supporting cruelty."

"The animals used by Cole Bros. Circus are abused, medically and emotionally neglected, and deprived of the life they deserve," read an ARFF news release before the event.

"In today's world of digital, high-tech entertainment, there is no excuse for continued support of such antiquated abuse. Traveling long hours in poorly ventilated spaces and spending only a night or two in each city, animals in the circus suffer from captivity-induced physical and mental disabilities. Constant and continued use further disables these animals, who are frequently killed as a result."

Protesters target circuses in particular, says ARFF spokesperson Don Anthony, because, "There is simply nothing good about the use of animal acts in the circus. Not only are the animals abused; the lack of regard for their natural needs and instincts sends the wrong message about conservation, especially to children."

Here are some of the sights from the protest.

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