THE CIRCUS IS COMING TO TOWN AND IT IS A TRAVESTY!
By Venus Zarris
On April 6, 2012, the George Carden Circus Spectacular sets up its three rings of abuse at the Sears Center in Hoffman Estates. Circus Spectacular features elephants subjected to such terrible conditions and treatment that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited them on several occasions. The PETA fact sheet on George Carden Circus International (http://www.mediapeta.com/peta/pdf/George-Carden-Circus-pdf.pdf) reports cited abuse from the USDA starting in 1991 and as recently as last year. It is clear and common knowledge that animals traveling with circuses are abused to make them “perform” and live an unnatural life of mistreatment, neglect and confinement.
How can watching abused animals be entertaining? And how can Groupon presume that this is a reputable organization to do business with?
Groupon Chicago offered a “Family Pack of Four Tickets” to the Circus Spectacular at a deep discount. The “deal” has now expired, but while valid over 640 families took advantage of Groupon’s Animal TORTURE Family Bargain.
Chicago Animal Activist/Actor Lindsey Pearlman questioned Groupon about this dastardly deal. Lindsey LOVES Groupon and has been a patron since their beginning. She was horrified when she saw them offering a “deal” to the Circus Spectacular and the pathetic description of this “bargain” on animal abuse.
From Groupon: “Three-ringed show sends animals leaping … with preshow party treating kids to elephant rides… Though most circuses don’t allow people to feed the animals, there are no rules against teaching them to panhandle. Get served a dish of beastly brilliance with today’s GrouponLive deal…”
Pearlman began asking Groupon to remove the deal. The organization did not respond. She called, with no response. She emailed, with no response. Finally she reached a customer service representative that told her, “We stand by our business.”
Yesterday (March 28, 2012), Pearlman and her fiancé went to Groupon headuarters with signs and literature about the abuse perpetrated by the George Carden Circus Spectacular. Eventually the head of Groupon’s media met with Pearlman and explained the “vetting process” for businesses that they contract with. Even with the infractions cited by the USDA and other animal welfare organizations, this Groupon representative was not convinced that this was necessarily grounds for removing the “deal.”
“All we want is for Groupon to remove the deal, or else we simply won’t be able to give them our business.” Pearlman says.
This is not an unprecedented request. Just weeks ago Groupon pulled a “deal” for a Serial-Killer Walking Tour that would take patrons to visit the hangouts of Milwaukee serial Jeffrey Dahmer, who brutally murdered 17 people.
Obviously public outcry makes a difference with Groupon’s bottom line. Elephants at the George Carden Circus Spectacular are forced to stand on barrels and contort into painful positions that 6-ton animals are not genetically designed to perform and would never do in the wild. An arthritic elephant is forced to provide rides to children on her back. As cited by the USDA, veterinary care has been denied to animals with gashes and lesions. The movement of these elephants, who walk miles a day in the wild, is restricted to going to and from the performance area. These magnificent creatures are doomed to live a life drudgery, confinement and exploitation.
Lindsey’s passion for the welfare of elephants took her to Thailand in 2011 (Volunteer in Thailand with Elephants | GVI USA) on a volunteer mission with the GVI Thai Elephant Volunteer Program but you don’t have to leave Chicago to take a stand and make a difference. You can start by signing her petition.
You can follow up by contacting Groupon directly; either through their offices:
Groupon Corporate Office Headquarters HQ
600 W Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60654
or their Facebook page Groupon Chicago and letting them know that this is a terrible business choice.
Finally, you can spread the word to friends and family that the George Carden Circus Spectacular is not entertainment, but rather a shameless display of animal cruelty dressed up and passed off as good family fun.
Chicago Stage Review covers performance. Circuses have fallen under our umbrella of coverage, featuring reviews and photo essays of Cirque du Soleil and Cirque Shanghai (both of which present NO animal acts). We cannot support productions that abuse animals into doing “tricks” and that provide a horrendous quality of life for these breathtakingly beautiful innocent creatures.
We solute Lindsey Pearlman and other members of Chicago’s theater community that have spearheaded the fight against this egregious animal abuse in the name of entertainment and we encourage you to sign the petition and spread the word!