circus Elephants at last year's Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Philadelphia. Credit: Rikard Larma / Metro

From today until Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus comes into the city, two local grassroots animal rights groups have launched an advertising campaign to raise awareness of what they say is animal abuse in the more than century-old circus.

For eight weeks, Animal ACTivists of Philly and Traveling Animal Protection Society bought advertising space on 25 SEPTA buses, depicting a circus elephant with emblazoned on it — a website with information on what they say is circus animal abuse.


“It is our goal to get the facts about animals in the circus out to the public, and let them decide,” said Marianne Bessey, founder of Animal ACTivists of Philly. “We hope that when families find out about the routine abuses that go on behind the scenes at circuses like Ringling Bros. — including baby elephants taken away from their mothers, tied up, dominated and shocked to learn circus tricks — they will agree that circuses are no place for animals."

The ads coincide with Ringling's arrival in Philadelphia in February.

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