Environment  > In Defense of Protesters at The Ringling Brothers Circus


Many people never lift a finger to do anything that does not somehow benefit themselves. But not Ms. Miyun Park. After she comes home from her 10 hour-a-day job for a non-profit group, she dedicates her evenings and weekends, 52 weeks a year, tirelessly striving for a day when non-human animals are not seen as mere things, chattel to be used and abused in every imaginable way.


Amanda Moeckel is 20 years old and currently in her third year at American University, majoring in Political Science and Art. Her extracurricular activities include AUARE (American University Animal Rights Effort (President)), and Food Not Bombs (serves vegetarian meals to the homeless). She has done this while maintaining a GPA of 3.72. Like Ms. Park, Ms. Moeckel devotes her life to doing things that do not benefit herself, except fighting for peace, compassion, and humanity. It is my honor to represent two such good people and good friends.


Now, about this case. This prosecution epitomizes many of our social ills. D.C. Code ยบ 22-801 makes it a crime for anyone to cause or procure an animal to be tortured, tormented, or cruelly killed, or to deprive them of necessary sustenance. So on some level we know that mistreatment of animals is wrong. But the statutes just sit there.


For instance, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus causes families of elephants and other animals to be brutally killed right before their children, so that the children can be stolen from their home without incident. Or, they are born into captivity for the use and abuse of another. The baby elephants' lives and free will are beaten out of them, and under force and threat of force they are forced to perform unnatural acts. Every day, for the rest of their lives, they are taken from a cage, to a rail car, to another cage, to a stage, and back to a cage. They never know what it's like to have the open earth in front of them without having a chain around their feet, or without a small cage around them, they never taste what it's like to romp around, to run free. It's the same despicable story for other circus animals as well. When they are weary, old, and no longer able to perform, they are killed, many being sold for canned hunts. Animals are treated without mercy, all so that people, shielded from the truth about what goes on behind the big top, can pay money to see these animals perform.


But the United States Attorney's Office doesn't bring the executives before the court on charges of cruelty to animals. Why not? The answer is simple -- because there's money being made,$200 million per year in profit. In As an attorney who has taken an oath to justice, and a person who has taken an oath to compassion, it makes me sick.


Attorney Sean D