38 Comments

  1. Kay
    February 7, 2017 @ 12:16 pm

    I signed the petition, with comment. There are a host of things humans can do, but should not because those things are not right. Mistreating animals or using them in unnatural ways is one of them. I certainly hope Ringling listens, but people with hard hearts are often unmoved by such petitions. What would be really helpful is widely published news stories. Are any of your readers journalists??

    Reply

    • Becky Hanley
      February 13, 2017 @ 1:31 pm

      I live in Florida and have followed this. The Ringling Brothers are supposedly retiring their animals to a wild life refuge in/near Lakeland.

      Reply

  2. Eric Rhodes
    February 7, 2017 @ 12:17 pm

    I think what a lot more people really want to know is: What will happen to all 2500 CLOWNS that just became homeless. Bahahahaha

    Reply

    • Heidi
      February 7, 2017 @ 12:31 pm

      I get that this is a joke but whatever the clowns do next at least it will be their choice just like they chose to be clowns in the first place. The animals have no choice. Forced to perform and still at the mercy of people to decide their fate.

      Reply

    • KR
      February 10, 2017 @ 10:00 am

      And the spangly outfits! Who speaks for the spangles?

      Reply

  3. Stephanie Fins
    February 7, 2017 @ 12:29 pm

    Thank you for posts like these. I try to raise awareness for animal rights and welfare every chance I get but it can often feel like shouting into a black hole. People usually are either activists already like you and me or they couldn’t care less…there’s not a lot of middle ground when it comes to animals. Thank you for trying to shine a light into the darkness many animals face and for using your social media platform as a means to make this planet a little better place.

    Reply

  4. Sascha
    February 7, 2017 @ 1:06 pm

    I just sent an email to Feld Entertainment, and I got an automated reply listing their telephone numbers. If anyone wants to phone and talk to them or leave a message, the numbers are:

    (703) 448-3639 or (703) 749-5523

    Public pressure forced Sea World to stop breeding orcas and phase out its theatrical shows featuring them – this type of public scrutiny DOES work!

    Reply

  5. Claire
    February 7, 2017 @ 1:09 pm

    Thank you for posting about this! I have signed the petition!!

    Reply

  6. Suzanne Forbes
    February 7, 2017 @ 1:12 pm

    Sucker that I am, I read the statement Ringling made that the elephants were going to a “Sanctuary” and didn’t think any further. I am sad to learn that there is nothing so lovely as a true sanctuary planned yet. And I had no idea that there were all those other animals. And that it is still legal to have roadside zoos?!?!? This world needs some goddam improvement, stat. Tweeted and signed.

    Reply

  7. Victoria
    February 7, 2017 @ 1:14 pm

    Hi! My name is also Victoria! I’ve been reading your blog for ages and I adore it. Especially since I love GFTs and limiting animal cruelty and making the world a better place for humans and animals. I was just wondering if you were a vegan or vegetarian? You are so passionate about the humane treatment of animals and abolishing circuses and I remember the posts about when you were growing your own organic leafy greens. So to me it just seems like something that would go hand in hand. I’ve been a switching between vegetarian and vegan for seven years and I just turned nineteen. I made the switch on account of how poorly farm animals are treated and how it goes against my own personal values. But after further studying how dairy cows are treated I am now CONVINCED that I can no longer support the diary industry. I was just curious if your passion extends to the food industry 🙂

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      February 7, 2017 @ 1:33 pm

      Hey name/GFT twin… yes. Vegan. (Paul too.)

      I went vegetarian at 15… overnight when I learned about animal treatment. Then it was another few months before I learned how baby cows are taken from their mothers so humans can drink their milk… I LITERALLY did not even realize that female cows must have a baby to produce milk for the baby! (of course! duh! I must not have been a very bright teenager!)

      To me now, (regardless of animal treatment,) it seems so obvious to me that humans are not meant to drink cow’s breast milk! We are the only animal to drink another species’ lactation excretions… and just LOGICALLY that makes zero sense to me. And then, of course the babies! Female cows become more dairy cows… boys are trash– sent to become veal! How can we treat babies like that!

      I have struggled here on my blog to balance the validation of people liking what I write: it feels good! With my personal experience of sharing how GOOD a plant-based life feels! Weirdly people frequently don’t like the messenger… and this sort of crushes my soul.

      I have plenty of post-drafts I’ve written, and have been slowly working on them… I appreciate people like you commenting because it helps me feel like I am not alone!!
      xoxo, VEB

      Reply

      • Barbara
        February 7, 2017 @ 1:55 pm

        The mother/child nursing relationship was lost on me too until I gave birth. After that the breastfeeding connection I felt with my baby was so powerful that it became repulsive to me to drink another mother’s milk. I also learned that cows carry their babies for 9 months just like humans and that a female cow and her daughter will spend their entire lives together if not born in a dairy farm. I cannot imagine giving birth to baby after baby and having them all taken from me. I think the cows must go insane.

        Reply

  8. Amber Schwarz
    February 7, 2017 @ 1:32 pm

    Done and done! Keep us posted on what happens!

    Reply

  9. Diana
    February 7, 2017 @ 1:38 pm

    Perhaps the animals will go here:
    http://www.wildanimalsanctuary.org/

    I have visited this sanctuary in Colorado. It’s purpose is to house animals released from zoos, circuses, etc. It really isn’t awful at all. It did strike me however that rabbit can run happily across the Colorado landscape and the animals don’t even flinch. They have no idea how to hunt after being captive.

    Really, visit this place and support it!

    Reply

  10. Cindy Rogers
    February 7, 2017 @ 1:55 pm

    Next year, someone should develop a flyer about the fact that the Canadian Goose jackets have real coyote fur and the cruelty that occurs to get the fur. ( I have been in arguments about the fact that it is indeed real fur). We could discreetly leave the flyers down in the sleeves of the coats at the stores.

    A big fancy thank you for all you do!

    Reply

  11. Marsha
    February 7, 2017 @ 2:53 pm

    I have never signed a petition or emailed for a cause before – shocking, perhaps shameful, I know. I can’t watch the videos you posted because I know they will most likely make me ill. But you have inspired me to both sign the petition and email the contacts you have provided – done and done!

    Reply

  12. Vickie H.
    February 7, 2017 @ 3:35 pm

    With all the de-regulation taking place in the new Trump administration White House, you can forget about anyone in Washington giving a shit about these poor circus animals! It is all sickening to me. I will sign your petition and I will email these people about getting these animals into approved sanctuaries but I DO believe that the people we are dealing with at Ringling are heartless and solely focused on the bottom line dollar. “You can’t wring water from a stone”…..to quote a journalist whose piece in the NY Times I just read today. We must all do what we can and continue to pray for these defenseless creatures. Thank you for a marvelous post!

    Reply

    • Tammi
      February 8, 2017 @ 1:17 pm

      Way to go political. What exactly did the previous administration do to stop this abuse? For that matter any previous one the last decades?

      Reply

      • Caroline M.
        February 8, 2017 @ 1:55 pm

        I think she is referring to the USDA shuttering public access to animal abuse records? (I mean this in the least political way possible because I know animal lovers on both sides of the aisle who are very upset!)

        “substandard roadside zoos, shameful animal circuses, puppy breeding factories and more.” Often, the animals in these facilities may have visible wounds or cramped conditions or no access to water, according to Roberts. He says “the government’s decision to make it harder to access this information further protects animal exploiters in the shroud of secrecy on which their nefarious activities thrive.”
        http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/02/wildlife-watch-usda-animal-welfare-trump-records/

        Reply

      • Tammi
        February 8, 2017 @ 3:05 pm

        Caroline, Thank you for the link. Sigh! I went and looked at several sites and their opinion on this. I do not agree with the taking down of the info either however, USDA says there will be adjustments. So hopefully the adjustments will be swift and include getting the info out in a timely manner as before while correcting some issue with lawsuits brought against the USDA. Which costs time and money. While the USDA has to fight lawsuits those inspectors are possibly taken off the field ( to either go to court or deposition hearings) when they are needed to do more inspections.
        Thanks again for the link!

        Reply

  13. Angela Buckley
    February 7, 2017 @ 3:37 pm

    Victoria ,
    Please continue to post about animal welfare . Education is key. I’m ashamed to say that you have raised my animal rights awareness 100 fold , even though I have had dear friends that are activists .
    I have followed you based on your humor , your love of GFT s, and a shared dilliusion about the resurrection of butchered old houses ” with good bones “. But sprinkling in your passion for the welfare of animals has gently nudged me to rethink , be more aware , ask questions and Wake Up . When we know better , we do better . Thank you for helping me know better . ❤️

    Reply

  14. toni
    February 7, 2017 @ 5:07 pm

    I never did find the link to the petition but I emailed the 3 addresses and got an automated reply.

    Reply

  15. Sarah Carlson
    February 7, 2017 @ 7:43 pm

    Thank you for your passion on this issue! It is people like you who push us all to be better. Although Ringling Brothers wouldn’t have the option to retire any possible chimpanzees here, I thought I would still pass on some information about this amazing organization. We just visited Project Chimps in Georgia this weekend (a friend of our’s a director there and gave us an insiders view). It is absolutely amazing to see the lives they have created for these animals who have had no freedom in their past lives as private biomedical research chimps. It’s heartening to know that there are people working for the good of animals! Thank you for your part in that! projectchimps.org

    Reply

  16. Patricia Paul
    February 7, 2017 @ 7:44 pm

    Signed it. Keep up the good work.
    And if you get a chance please challenge your readers to NOT purchase leather goods from China. I will not tell you what they do to cows because you will never sleep again.

    Reply

  17. Loretta Marvel
    February 8, 2017 @ 8:24 am

    Hi Victoria, just wanted to let you know that I just sent emails to each of the three email addys above for Feldine. Each was immediately rejected by my server as not deliverable. It appears they may have taken these emails down.

    Reply

  18. Gwen
    February 8, 2017 @ 9:23 am

    Good Morning – I really appreciate posts like this since I am not well educated on the mistreatment of animals. I really appreciate the way you present the information and I take it to heart. This is slightly off topic, but its something I have been thinking about since I have had children…I have never really been comfortable with zoos. I’m a Philly local (Delaware actually) and have only been to the Philadelphia Zoo a couple times as a child/teen and once as an adult. Likewise, I’ve only been to the Brandywine Zoo in Wilmington once, as an adult with my toddler. Every single time I feel heartbroken for the animals and I am really not comfortable taking my children without understanding if zoos actually do more than just keep animals captive. A dear relative actually purchased a membership to the Brandywine Zoo for my family and I couldn’t even bring myself to visit because of my concerns about the living conditions.

    Do you have any resources or good places to start reading about the purpose of zoos and whether or not they do serve a purpose for conservation efforts? Do you think there is ever a benefit to keeping an animal in captivity? Honestly, I think NO, but as I mentioned before I am not well educated on the subject.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      February 8, 2017 @ 11:13 am

      THANK you for taking the time to write this comment and for thinking about these issues! (and for making me feel like the people who read my blog are not merely “tolerating” my animal posts!)

      My response will be longer than you were expecting because I’m working on a website for our Philadelphia animal group to raise public awareness about the subpar conditions at the Philadelphia zoo! My work/life has been busy and I’ve not been making progress as fast as I’d like, but your comment helped me get back into that headspace and want to work on this content! so seriously, thanks!

      To start:
      You can Google “zoochosis” and “stereotypic animal behavior”… Essentially, captive animals are driven insane with boredom, frustration, depression… the way anyone would be when deprived of literally anything that is natural to them!

      These are beings that have developed over millennia to survive in the wild, climb trees, swim far, run fast, have babies, raise families, hunt prey, dig dens, travel over huge distances, have sophisticated and intelligent relationships with their kin, and essentially just BE ALIVE in their own way… NONE of them have evolved to live in cages so humans can “see” them!

      If keeping an orca in a tank is unethical, (see “Blackfish”) then why not an elephant, a tiger, or a gorilla? In the wild, Tigers can travel up to 5 miles a day within a territory that spans over 100 miles! AND THEY LOVE TO SWIM. Tigers can swim MILES!

      Zoos cannot provide the amount of space animals have in the wild. This is particularly the case for those species who roam huge distances in their natural habitat. Tigers and lions have around 18,000 times less space in zoos than they would in the wild!

      Our efforts need to focus on protecting endangered animal’s organic habitats, human responsibility, and education… zoos are in NO way an answer to any of the challenges facing animals in the wild!

      I VERY MUCH WISH that captivity had anything to do with conservation… but it doesn’t! Animals born and bred in zoos are not released to the wild. (Sure, a species can EXIST in captivity, when extinct in the wild, but to what end?)

      Are there “good” zoos? Sure. But they are the exception, not the rule. (You’ve been to the Philadelphia zoo, you’ve seen that it is NO place for wild animals.) And it sets a standard that humans have some kind of unalienable “right” to keep another being in captivity so they can LOOK at them! That is the essential/operating belief of ANY zoo: that it’s fine for a wild animal to live in a cage/be controlled by humans because we want to LOOK at it… which is a REALLY slippery slope.

      ***
      The Philadelphia Zoo is America’s first zoo, (opened 1874) and it is among the nation’s worst; housing the animals in crumbling, outdated enclosures that were built long before modern-day considerations for animal welfare.

      The Philadelphia zoo CEO makes over $300,000 a year! They receive millions every year in tax dollars. Yet they spend LESS THAN 1% of the annual budget on improving the living conditions of the animals.

      The zoo touts meager improvements like the “Big Cat Crossing” in it’s endless publicity (another budget expense that is astronomical) but in reality, it added only 350 feet of wire-enclosed path… but did NOTHING to address the fact that the Philadelphia zoo is unable to “display” all of the big cats at one time. Whatever cats are “on display” means that there are other big cats in the concrete holding cells “behind the scenes.”

      ***
      A few more random thoughts:

      Something I struggle with is how it is not OBVIOUS to some people why all of this is wrong? If you ever figure it out, let me know!

      Something I hear a lot is about how great it is for kids… but I disagree! Children don’t learn anything from seeing an animal in a cage. Especially now – with the Internet! You can see and learn about ACTUAL wild animal habitats. Seeing an animal in captivity is seeing nothing but misery.

      Human zoos were bad… right? But there was a time IN RECENT HISTORY where we exhibited “exotic” humans. (The last human exhibition was held in Belgium circa 1958… here is a photo http://victoriaelizabethbarnes.com/humanzoo2/ )

      I believe deeply in intersectionality: all things are connected! All systems of oppression are the SAME… they cannot be cannot be examined separately from one another! We cannot say that SOME lives matter LESS than others.

      I believe there is room for everyone at the table… I believe that to exclude ANY group is to exclude ALL! because for YOU/I to decide that “some” are allowed, but not “others.” Means that YOUR/MY definition of “others” will always be specific to YOU/ME… and at some point we will find that there is someone who wants to exclude YOU/ME, because THEY see us as “other.”

      Kindness, liberty, freedom… whatever words you want to use, MUST apply to ALL. Otherwise, they apply to NONE.

      Ok… ummm. THANKS for reading… the ALL CAPS are my way of emphasis, not shouting at you!!

      And, if somehow you are not exhausted yet, here is a link that I like:
      https://www.outsideonline.com/1930141/case-closing-zoos

      xoxo,
      VEB

      Reply

      • Gwen
        February 8, 2017 @ 3:20 pm

        Thank you for your reply. Truly, I think you are an example that should be held high as a way to educate others about topics that are so intrinsically fraught with emotion. It would be so easy for you to go down a path of condescension and elitist disbelief that, as you say “how is it not obvious…” You are doing important, vital awareness work and you should know it is working. I knew in my heart I couldn’t support zoos (circus were never a question for me…they are so clearly horrendous in my mind) and you have helped articulate what I’ve always instinctively known, but questioned because of societal conditioning. It’s so easy these days, and so tempting, to stop really *thinking* about anything that doesn’t directly impact my day-to-day life. Your posts like this are the perfect reminders that we must not become complacent! We must think critically about what is presented to us as a society…at every level.

        I hope you know and are proud of the community you have fostered that enable someone to say “I am not as educated as I should be” and feel safe.

        Reply

  19. Tammi
    February 8, 2017 @ 1:37 pm

    Victoria,
    I will add to your growing support of the post. Hopefully we all can help make a difference in some way for humane treatment of animals. I have shown my children videos and info on treatment of animals…and humans! We have changed the type of food we buy now, we hope for the better. While not vegans our family tries to purchase from sources that do not abuse animals and are free roaming local raised. I have been on that baby cow milk bandwagon for the past 25 yrs! I mean ick!! 😳
    I think we all can make a difference in our interaction with friends and families by giving our opinion and concern for the care of humans and animals. You have a pretty diverse wide audience. While we may not all end up vegan,vegetarian we can try to make more educated decisions on lots of ways as we go about purchasing items for consumption or entertainment!
    Thanks for your education here! Just added 4 more signatures to the petition! 🎉

    Reply

  20. Elizabeth Speicher
    February 9, 2017 @ 12:13 am

    Read, Signed and in complete agreement with you.

    What do you think of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee?

    Reply

  21. Ricky Walsh
    February 9, 2017 @ 1:49 am

    Thank you so much for this post.
    I was one of the many people that contacted you as soon as I heard about Ringling Bros. shutting down.
    I shared the link on your FB page with the words VICTORY…without realizing that there was still so much work to be done until I read this post.

    I signed the petition, added comments & shared both to my FB:

    Please share.

    I signed this petition because I took my daughter to the a circus in Milwaukee when she was about 7 or 8 years old and during the intermission she was sobbing because the elephants all looked so sad & miserable during the rides.
    It was her first & last Circus ever & I felt like a terrible parent but I learned a lesson from her.
    https://www.change.org/p/feld-entertainment-and-ringling-brothers-do-the-right-thing-and-retire-your-animals-in-true-sanctuaries

    I don’t have the amount of friends, followers or influence that you do but every person it reaches counts.
    It only takes a spark to start a fire right?

    Reply

  22. Wendy Molinaroli
    February 9, 2017 @ 6:47 am

    Hi Victoria,

    I love your blog, and you have inspired my Craigslist love of GFTs, and hep give me a great laugh, and a feeling of camaraderie, as the hubster and I are renovating two houses. You husband and my husband are long lost brothers, lol, down to the 1980’s tank top. The posts on animal rights are also very eye opening. I have posted this to my Facebook wall, and I am signing the petition. Thank you for your blog!

    Reply

  23. Tina Schumacher
    February 14, 2017 @ 1:33 pm

    I wanted to tell you I appreciate you sharing this information. I signed the petition and Twittered it.
    It really struck me that so many ‘temperamentally unsuited’ animals get killed for the convenience of the business owners/trainers/whatever they are. As someone who is temperamentally unsuitable for use in others’ negative agendas, I can really empathize with these creatures.
    I read your blog regularly, with glee and much cackling!

    Reply

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