The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus begins its eight-day run in Anaheim's Honda Center today, completing a Southern California swing that included engagements in Los Angeles and Ontario. It's become a tradition that the circus arrives with elephants parading through the streets of Anaheim, from railroad cars to the big top inside the arena. It's also become a tradition that animal rights advocates protest the parade and circus.
It already started before the seven-day run at the Staples Center.
"Ringling Bros.' long and well-documented history of beating and neglecting animals is enough to make any kind person speak out in protest," David W. Perle, the senior media coordinator for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), reportedly told City News Service at the time.
And that produced the traditional response from Steve Payne, vice president of corporate communications for Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus.
"Despite PETA's allegations, all of the animals on tour with Ringling Bros. and at the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation are trained through a system of repetition and reward," Payne reportedly told the news service. "Only highly trained and experienced staff work with our elephants, tigers and other animals."
The shows beginning at 7:30 tonight are titled "Built to Amaze!" and described by producer Alana Feld as a celebration of "how we put a show together." Featured is a cast of more than 110 human performers from 17 nations and 95 exotic and domesticated animals.
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Each show is preceded by an all-access pre-show, where an hour before the circus start time ticket holders can go to the arena floor and meet performers, try on costumes and learn dance moves and how to juggle.
Here is the schedule if you want to go to Honda Center ... to watch or protest:
Tonight: 7:30 p.m.; Saturday: 11:30 a.m., 3:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday: 1:30 and 5:30 p.m.; Monday-Tuesday: dark; Wednesday: 1 and 7:30 p.m.; Thursday: 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 2: 1 and 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 3: 11:30 a.m., 3:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 4: 11:30 a.m., 3:30 and 7:30 p.m.