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The recent terrorist nightmare overwhelmed me. It's been difficult to carry on with everyday tasks, much less continue with a protest I'd been planning. Then I saw a war veteran on television. He was saying that he had "fought so people could protest," and he'd go back again, if needed, so people could continue to have that freedom. He motivated me. What a mistake to let terrorists wipe out the spirit of U.S. citizens who fight to make the world a better place.

So there we stood, rain whipping around us, freezing winds blowing us and our signs. More than 60 people left their warm homes in hopes of letting other people know what they knew.

They knew that there was more to the circus than bright lights and zany clowns. They knew about the inhumane treatment of circus animals. They had read the legal affidavits of former Ringling Bros. workers who testified they had witnessed elephants being beaten when they didn't perform properly. They knew a 3-year-old Ringling elephant named Kenny had died. Freedom of Information documents, according to an ASPCA press release, revealed that Kenny was made to perform even though Ringling's own veterinarian had determined that he was too ill to perform.

The press release also reported that an employee was cited by California Humane Society officers for abusive treatment. He was cited for striking an elephant and leaving an open would behind its ear. Ringling has also been cited by the USDA for inhumane treatment toward baby elephants at its training facility.

The protesters were there, but the media evidently decided to put on rose-colored glasses and show their viewers only what Ringling wanted shown. What a shame that people were denied their right to know both sides of the story so they could make up their own minds whether the circus is indeed the "Greatest Show on Earth" or the "Saddest Show on Earth."

What a shame that people who sit in their warm offices profiting from the misery of animals were favored by the local media instead of those who stood in the freezing rain -- their only payment the hope that someone would hear their pleas and stop patronizing a business that involves needless animal suffering.



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