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Animal Protection Institute To Protest Ringling Bros. Circus In Jacksonville

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Highlighting the lifetime of misery that circus animals face, the Animal Protection Institute (API) will display in Jacksonville, FL on January 26 a new controversial billboard as part of the Florida launch of an advertising campaign that will roll out nationwide.

As Ringling Bros. opens its doors on this controversial "family entertainment," the Animal Protection Institute will be joining concerned citizens to protest the show and remind those visiting the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena that the circus is no fun for animals. Armed with materials and information for the public, protestors will gather to mark the arrival of a 22-foot mobile billboard highlighting the plight of circus elephants.

The controversial billboard — depicting an elephant in chains and asking the questions "Would you chain your dog for most of her life? Why Pay a Circus to do it to Elephants?" — can only be seen on a special mobile display, which will "welcome" the circus to town. Rejected by outdoor companies but determined to get the truth to the public, API secured this mobile display to drive around the Jacksonville area, revealing the plight of circus animals to the people.

As the Ringling Bros. circus rolls their 135th edition into Jacksonville, the group will be rolling out their campaign to remind residents about the reality of life behind the big top, a life of frightening, unnatural and painful experiences. With standard industry practice including the use of bullhooks and other objects to poke, prod, strike and shock animals, API will be unveiling its campaign to educate the public about the real life behind the scenes at the circus.

As Ringling Bros. opens its doors January 26 on this controversial "family entertainment," the campaign will be asking the public to think twice before buying a ticket to support such an abusive industry. The campaign will also remind the public of Ringling's record of animal care following the death of several animals in the last year.

"If the depiction of life for these animals is too graphic to be shown on a billboard, the reality is too graphic for them to endure in the circus," says Michelle Thew, chief executive officer of the Animal Protection Institute. "Protestors will be outside the arena on Wednesday with a clear message — the catalog of misery that circus animals endure must come to an end. This is not family entertainment."

The campaign has also included a series of 30-second TV spots running in the area from January 17-24 on The Learning Channel (TLC) and Animal Planet. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen