Anyone who marveled at the incisive journalism and expert photography displayed in the coverage of animal-rights activist Melissa Sehgal's nude protest over Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus' upcoming Honda Center run knows Navel Gazing took on a whole new meaning that June 25 morning.
One thing you did not marvel at was circus promoter Feld Entertainment's on-the-spot response, which through a communications snafu did not reach yours truly until this morning.
Better late than never, as the elephant-poop scoopers say:
Animals at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® are healthy and well cared for by a team of full-time veterinarians and an animal care staff that works to ensure that the animals have an enriching and safe environment. Protesters make false and distorted allegations about Ringling Bros.® animal care, and we invite people to come see for themselves that our animals are healthy and thriving in our care.
The Ringmasters go on to give the dates of Southern California shows, so you can see the non-abuse for yourself: July 8-12 at Staples; July 15-26 at Honda; and July 29-Aug. 2 at something known as Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. Oh, and should you want to stick around for the really big show, tickets range from $15 in the cheap seats to $65 in the front row to $90 for "Circus Celebrity." Visit Ticketmaster.com or Ringling.com for more details.
An activist with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), told me, fully clothed, he actually feels some sympathy toward circus spokespeople.
"Those Ringling reps have a tough job right now," he explained, "as we await the verdict in the federal case against the circus not so much to determine whether they routinely abuse elephants, but to determine whether their routine abuse of elephants violates the federal Endangered Species Act."
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Ladies and gentlemen, I ask that you turn your attention to the center ring, where opposing fact jugglers face off in a contest of elephant abuse/not abuse spinning:
However you view Ringling's treatment of animals, be thankful that no one is accusing the circus of abusing clowns. No one wants to see Chuckles nude in a cage.