By Norman Oder
So, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® is back, bringing circus trailers to Brooklyn for 23 shows between Feb. 20 and April 1. As I wrote, there were trailers all over the neighborhood, parked illegally in bus zones and blocking traffic, awaiting load-in to the arena.
What we didn't see, either last year or this week, was an elephant walk, despite developer Bruce Ratner's 2010 claim that “I can’t wait to see circus elephants marching down Flatbush Avenue and into the Barclays Center.”
Maybe that's because the elephant walk would have amplified the protests, last year and this year.
The Dodo reported 2/20/14:
"The circus, which brings elephants, tigers, kangaroos and other animals in tow, has provoked the ire of animal advocates, who plan to host large protests during each show outside the arena in downtown Brooklyn.
A trove of organizations will be in attendance, including NYCLASS, In Defense of Animals, PETA, Animal Defenders International and others."
An activist's take
As reported last year by Animal New York:
"Katie Arth, a campaigner with PETA, believes Ringling Brothers may be canceling the walk to avoid the public seeing the state of the animals. “We know Ringling Brothers has cancelled walks in other cities, most likely because the don’t want people to see the lameness of some of the elephants that are forced to perform,” she said, pointing to an incident in which Department of Health monitors spotted unhealthy-looking elephants walking to the circus in DC."
Even so, in March 2013, the circus got a big article in the Times that explained elephants were driven to the arena in trucks and rode down to the event level in the giant elevators.