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[San Diego CityBEAT]

Perhaps not since the Hartford Circus Fire of 1944--in which more than 150 people were burned alive in a mammoth big-top blaze--has Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus received so much scrutiny.

Seems these days its cadre of clowns and trapeze artists can't roll into town without animal-rights advocates in tow.

As "The Greatest Show on Earth" made its annual stop here, Aug. 8 through 12, members of San Diego Animal Advocates and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals descended on the San Diego Sports Arena to denounce alleged abuse of elephants and other animals. While some activists were content leafleting passerby, in true martyr fashion other activists strapped "body screens" to their chests--portable monitors displaying explosive footage of animal cruelty.

The most alarming scene, captured by an incognito PETA investigator, involved Tim Frisco, an elephant trainer for Carson & Barnes Circus. Brandishing a steel-tipped bull hook, Frisco demonstrated to a fledgling trainer how to get the 10,000-pound creatures to perform.

"Don't touch 'em. Hurt 'em!" Frisco tells the trainer. "Make 'em scream! ... When he fucks around too much, you fucking sink that hook and give it everything you got."


PETA's lead circus monitor, Jason Bayless, follows the show across the country, organizing demonstrations. If the film clips don't do the trick, Bayless lets people inspect his own ominous bull hook.

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full story: http://www.sdcitybeat.com/article.php?id=6122

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