February 10th, 2019 I did a peaceful protest with fellow vegans and activists, Jennifer Mains and Jake Wood.
Carson and Barnes, that leases out elephants to Garden Bros, has been cited for more than 100 violations of the federal Animal Welfare ACT.
I went to Office Depot to print out a huge 48X36 inch poster from Circusprotest.com but had to wait to use another time due to rain. Luckily because of an error I had a smaller version of my sign to use. Jake had the idea to tape the signs on the inside of our umbrellas while we stood outside of the entrance for the circus at the State Fair Grounds and Barton Coliseum.
Jennifer Mains is a single mother, vegan, and an activist.
Jake Wood is a Fayetteville native, vegan, registered nurse (RN), and activist.
After our fun time in the rain we went to local treasure, a restaurant named Star of India, where I did an interview to get their thoughts on activism. The two met at an Anonymous for the Voiceless cube in Fayetteville where Jake is a chapter organizer/admin. Anonymous for the Voicless is an educational demonstration akin to an art performance.
Me: How long have you been doing activism?
Jake: Since January of 2018 when I started the Fayetteville Anonymous for the Voiceless Chapter.
Me: So tell me about the AV administrators and how you got your chapter started?
Jake: They schedule a video call with you and discuss your interest in activism, give you guidelines and support, and set up your Facebook group.
Me: What would you recommend for someone who is interested in planting seeds but is hesitant to get involved in activism?
Jennifer: I would say a good way to start with activism is to come to an Anonymous for the Voiceless event because if your not quite ready to do public interactions you can be apart of the Cube and listen to the person doing outreach and can learn from them.
Jake: Wearing the mask in the cube gives you a barrier almost so the people aren’t focused on you as much as the visual images on the screen you hold. What was great about what we did today while we were doing the protest is no matter what people thought of the signs the message stuck in their subconscious and while they were watching the show. They thought of our signs and seeing us standing out in the rain must have stuck with the audience and hopefully planted some seeds even if it takes years to make the connection.
I want people to know the littlest amount of effort can have a huge impact.
Me: I think that’s one reason people are afraid to do activism is because they think it takes a lot of effort but it’s really just standing, lol.
Jennifer: When we started the Little Rock: AV Chapter our friend, Alisha Priddy and I, had a similar experience. I was interested in activism from the the time I became vegan in February of 2018, and after watching YouTube videos I decided to reach out and find others interested in activism.
Me: If you’re interested in activism and are a vegan what’s a good website to go to visit learn more?
Jake: Anonymousforthevoiceless.org and you can search for a chapter in your area.
Me: What would you say to someone who thought you were crazy to stand out side in the cold rain to protest animal cruelty in the circus?
Jake: I would say to them, “If you were in there being treated the way that these animals were being treated wouldn’t you want me to be out here trying end this for you?” There is a disconnect between people and animals, but we’re all animals and I believe we are all earthlings sharing the same earth together. It’s natural for humans to feel superior to non human animals and I’m not saying that we aren’t, because we are in a lot of ways, like with our intelligence, but with that intelligence comes responsibility to extend our compassion to not only other other humans but non human animals. It’s simply being morally and ethically consistent. I want to help people understand how being vegan and being an animal rights activist isn’t extreme. It’s advocating for there to be no more abuse, no more suffering, and no more harm for animals. For example our signs we used today said things like, “animal cruelty is not entertainment”, “the circus hurts animals”, and “abuse is not entertainment” and I was amazed at some of the reaction and the ridicule we got. Like someone drove by and threw a handful of change at you guys, another person gave us the bird. It’s insane to me that people feel threatened by us advocating for animals not to be harmed and is considered extreme in their eyes because these industries that use and exploit animals for entertainment thrive on our ignorance as to what goes on in these industries.
Jennifer: Not only are we being a voice for the animals but we are trying to bring awareness to the public. If I would have known what I know now a year ago I would have went vegan sooner. Before, I was completely oblivious to the ways these industries exploit animals which led me to want to raise awareness. If you were to ask someone if they believe animal cruelty is wrong, the majority of people would say “Yes.” Just like if you saw someone on the sidewalk beating a dog, you would likely step in and try to help the dog. Animals are sentient beings, they have a central nervous system and are capable of feeling pain like humans, whether they are a dog, pig, cat, cow, or an elephant. These industries have billions of dollars on the line. When you see animal products in the store, you see the finished product nicely wrapped and packaged. You don’t see all the abuse and suffering that the victims had to endure before hand. When we purchase those products, or circus tickets, we are supporting animal cruelty.
Me: As a mother how do you hope your activism will influence your daughter?
Jennifer: It’s like if someone was being bullied, you wouldn’t want your child supporting and encouraging the bully. You would want your child to help the victim and stand up for them.
Thank you all for reading this blog and please share with your friends. I know many of us have fond memories of going to the circus as children but we had no clue as to the amount of suffering the animals featured endured in their daily lives. Let’s each do our best to make conscious decisions and remember to not use our money to support any type of entertainment that involves animal cruelty.