DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES ( — The circus may be in town but not everyone’s celebrating.

Animal-rights advocates protested Friday outside the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey shows at Staples Center.

Activists say they’re speaking out because they’re concerned about the animals’ well-being.

“It’s an outrage; cruelty shouldn’t be entertainment,” a woman standing among the protesters said.

The animals may not be in their native habitat, but circus organizers insist the animals receive great care from trainers and veterinarians.

“These animals are as well off, if not better off, than their colleagues in the range countries,” circus animals director Janice Aria said.

Protesters insist that’s not true.

There’s video on PETA’s website of the elephants, a main attraction of the circus, chained in transport, chained backstage and chained in cages.

“These animals are suffering. They’re chained up for 23 hours a day, sometimes 11 months out of the year,” said Meghan McGill of Last Chance For Animals. “It’s not OK to beat, whip, chain up any of them. It’s not OK to make them do tricks for profit.”

Aria addressed the chains: “Well, sure, they have to be contained; they’re in captivity in the middle of rushing society.”

Protesters stood with signs that read, “The Circus hurts animals” and urged the hundreds of families streaming past to reconsider going to the show.

The Garcia family said the protest didn’t put a damper on their experience.

“My kids love it,” Carlos Garcia said.

“I’m just here to bring the nephew out for a great time,” another man said.

Protesters claim the circus also doesn’t do enough to educate people about the animals but CBS2/KCAL9’s Greg Mills reports there was an informational period preceding Friday’s show.

The show opens in Ontario on July 18 and in Anaheim on July 25.


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