Volunteers lead charge for Animal Rights
NY Times - 20 Jun 2002
To the Editor:
I was one of the three women present at the Clyde
Beatty-Cole Brothers Circus in Hartsdale, to which you referred in your
article ("Banning the Big Top", June 16). We were there to protest animal
abuse and exploitation by traveling animal acts.
Your reporter stated that we carried signs that "most
people did not read." We were right by a main thoroughfare. Westchester
demonstration venues differ from those in New York City; there is relatively
little foot traffic and we depend largely on motor vehicle traffic - even as
cars drive by, for a moment the animals' story is being told. We can't
purchase huge newspaper ads the way circuses can. The animal rights movement
is overwhelmingly composed of volunteers like myself.
The article mentioned that we were "several yards from
That was as close as we could legally be, without
facing arrest - and in fact, we had to fight to be as close as we were, as
the police wanted us to be even further away.
The Greenburgh traveling animal act ordinance was the
result of a concerted effort by a group of dedicated, resourceful and
inspired volunteers, who refused to give up in the face of all odds.
Though the animal protection movement in Westchester
was dormant for quite some time, with this same small group of concerned
activists we have accomplished enormous changes for the animals, such as
getting turtle races out of local bars, and in Van Cordtlandt Manor, as your
article mentions. We made changes by keeping up a small but constant
presence, which helped change people's perceptions of the animals who share
our world. We bear out the truth of the words of the anthropologist Margaret
Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can
change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has."