Pachyderm Parade Delights, Angers Onlookers

Ringling Bros., PETA at odds over elephants at circus

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The elephants have turned into a lightning rod for controversy.

    Several local streets were closed Tuesday to make room for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus elephants.

    The parading elephants walked from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot to Old Town to the Sports Arena, where the circus will be held. The "Biggest Show on Earth" runs from Wednesday through Sunday.

    Raw Video: Circus Elephants Parade

    [DGO] Raw Video: Circus Elephants Parade
    Several local streets were closed Tuesday to make room for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus elephants. (Published Wednesday, Aug 5, 2009)

    The spectacle drew more than a few people out to see the rare sight on San Diego streets. However, not everyone was happy the circus in town.

    “We hope that Mayor Jerry Sanders and the citizens of San Diego will say that Ringling is no longer welcome with their animals in this city," spokeswoman Nicole Matthews of People for the Ethical Treatment for animals said.

    The animal-rights group PETA is in town to protest the circus. The group played a video it said shows circus workers abusing elephants. According to PETA, the circus’s trainers use a tool called a bull hook to hit the elephants backstage. The group plans to hold a demonstration outside the Sports Arena on opening night.

    For its part, Ringling Bros. said PETA's video is "questionable" and "deceptively edited," and that the circus has been inspected by 12 different animal-welfare authorities and was found to be in compliance with all laws.