The Royal Hanneford Circus transforms the Westchester County Center this weekend into a spectacular stage, showcasing tightrope walkers, trapeze artists, acrobats and animal acts. It's that last part that has animal-rights activists up in arms.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has organized a protest outside the County Center prior to Saturday’s afternoon performance to draw attention to what the group says is cruel and inhumane treatment of circus animals.
"Bears, elephants, tigers, and other animals used in circuses do not voluntarily ride bicycles, stand on their heads, balance on balls, or jump through rings of fire," says PETA's website.
The group says that circus animals are forced to learn these tricks with whips, bullhooks, electric prods and other punishments. When the animals aren't performing, they are often kept shackled or in tiny cages, says PETA.
The Hanneford Circus is a frequent target of animal-rights groups. Protesters rallied at the County Center 2008, 2005 and 2004 when the circus came to town.
The Hanneford Circus has defended its treatment of animals, saying they are well cared for and their training is based on "reinforcement in the form of food rewards and words of praise."
The animal-rights activists organized the call to action via Facebook. Local activists from PETA, Animal Defenders of Westchester and other groups plan to educate the incoming crowd about animal mistreatment throughout the history of circuses.
Tickets and Other Information
Show times are Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Check the web for pre-show information and events.
All seats are reserved with premium seats at $28.50 and regular seats at $22.50. Children over 2 require a ticket, and under 2 are admitted free if they sit on a lap. Groups that are interested in attending should contact Zanzarella Marketing at 914-945-0480. For groups of over 20 people the ticket price is reduced by $3.50.
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster (a service fee is added) or at the County Center Box Office (no service fee applies).
For further information you can call 914-995-4050, or www.countycenter.biz