PETA Global 2017 Issue 1

PETA vs. PETA

complaints to federal, state, and local authorities. PETA connected with schoolchildren through “elefriend” comic books and worked with humane agencies all across the country to encourage and help them enforce state anti-cruelty laws. PETA persuaded national circus sponsors, including MasterCard and Visa, to sever ties with

that exposed to the entire world just how low the circus was willing to go to protect its profits.

There’s more. Under George, former FBI counterintelligence agent Robert Eringer was

employed to gain the confidence of Janice Pottker, an author writing a tell-all about the Feld family and the circus. Eringer befriended her and persuaded her to abandon the Feld story, offering a significant amount of money for her to write a different book. He also visited PETA’s Maryland office and offered to pay PETA President Ingrid Newkirk a large advance for a book that he said he would publish. Finding the proposal sketchy, she declined. PETA Didn’t Quit … and Ringling Paid PETA documented cruelty to more than 20 elephants held captive by Ringling – ranging in age from just 2 years old to at least 54. PETA demanded that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) take action when Kenny, a 3-year-old Asian elephant, died shortly after being forced to perform even though he was seriously ill. Feld agreed to donate $20,000 to Asian elephant organizations after the USDA dropped its complaint. PETA asked the agency to remove an ailing elephant named Sarah from the road. A month later, she collapsed while being loaded into a Ringling railcar.

Ringling. Early actions included street- theater demonstrations and sit-ins and later evolved into life-size robotics and live tweeting during Ringling

performances. PETA’s website RinglingBeatsAnimals.com was visited by countless people who learned that animals were being beaten and forced to spend their lives in cages and chains. Circus attendance dropped, and outrage grew. The Fight Gets Dirty Ringling quickly learned that ignoring the groundswell didn't help, so it got serious. The company was so desperate to stay afloat that it hired spies – including Clair George, the former head of covert operations for the CIA (who was paid millions by Kenneth Feld of Feld Entertainment) – to use misrepresentation, illegal electronic surveillance, and stolen PETA

F rom the day when Circus was a target. Thirty- seven years later, the circus that exploited animals for 146 years is finally calling it quits. PETA first opened its doors, Ringling Bros. and Barnum& Bailey

PETA continued to turn up the heat in 2009 by releasing eyewitness footage of Ringling workers striking tigers

Year after year, PETA was a thorn in Ringling’s side. There was no escaping the countless protests held wherever the circus went, the tens of thousands of leaflets distributed, the video exposés, the massive public outreach, or the dozens of formal

documents as part of a conspiracy designed to destroy PETA and other animal-protection organizations. When the conspiracy came to light, PETA filed suit and pried the lid off nearly 20,000 pages of documents

2 COVER STORY

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