Animal Defenders of Westchester

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We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704

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Pace student's reaction to Hanneford circus

This article was written by Pace University student Robert Rigo, for a course entitled ANIMALS AND SOCIETY.  This is Rob's 'Reaction' paper after he assisted at the Hanneford circus protest in February - thanks so much for your help, Rob!:

Robert Rigo
Animals & Society  
Professor Tracey Basile

February 22, 2006

It was Saturday morning, the wind was whipping violently across the faÁade of the Westchester County Center making the below freezing temperature feel even colder.  Not even harsh temperatures and a little wind could keep the members of Animal Defenders of Westchester from voicing their opinions about the treatment of the animals in the Royal Hanneford Circus.

I joined Kiley Blackman, spokesperson for the Animal Defenders of Westchester and her team at about 11.30am.  Instantly, I was given a stack of flyers that revealed the sad story of animal life in the circus.  There was also an educational comic that talked about the life of an elephant in the circus that I distributed to the passing children.  

As I passed out the flyers to both pedestrians on the street and circus goers the response I got from the majority was shocking.  Many did not seem to care and discarded the information leaving the wind to take it away.  Some, with their heads down, didnít even stop to give me the time of day.  I wondered if they were really to busy, or were they embarrassed or ashamed that they just attended the circus having knowledge of this issue.  Out of the dozens of people I came in contact with, one person, a middle aged man with his children, stopped and praised the team for standing up for the animals.  He explained how he was completely in the dark about the situation, and had he had the knowledge before hand, he would have chose to spend his Saturday afternoon doing something else.

Before finding out in class how these animals are being treated I didnít have an opinion about the circus.  Now, that I am further educated, I am both embarrassed and ashamed to say that I have attended one.  

In this day and age there are a countless amount of other things people can do to entertain themselves, especially things that donít include exploiting poor innocent animals.  I think if more people were informed, there opinions would change just as fast as mine did.  Although, it seemed like I only helped to inform one person successfully the Animal Defenders of Westchester had a huge present there and many felt it.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has"
~Margaret Mead


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