If going to circus, expect to also see protesters

Circus protesters say animals are mistreated

Headline Goes Here John Bodnar/CNN

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Clowns, face painting, elephants and fun. That's what most people are thinking of now that the circus is in town.

But not everyone is excited to see the Ringling Brothers circus in town.   

Every where people can see the greatest show on earth, people can also find demonstrators, upset over the treatment of animals.

Robert JonJock plans to take his son to the circus and said, "We have a five year old and he's all excited for it."

Robert JonJock can't wait for the circus to come to Jacksonville. His family anxiously wants to see the animals, knowing his son will likely see protesters though too.

"I explain to him sometimes that there are people who don't like it," JonJock said.

"It makes me angry if you compare and contrast how these elephants live in the wild, and how they're treated in the circus. The way they live, it's very different," protestor Adam Sugalski said.

Sugalski and others who oppose animals being kept in captivity, said every time the animals come to town, they'll be there too, so the public can see what he claims goes on behind the scenes.

"The elephants are chained and are separated from each other. In the wild they're highly social, one of the most social creatures, constantly touching each other, strict family order," Sugalski said.

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus is defending their treatment of circus animals, and said in a statement, "The animals traveling with our circus are healthy and well cared for at all times. Exhibitors with the animals are required to be licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture."

Circus officials said the animals have daily regular routines that help to maintain their physical fitness, and mental wellbeing. But protestors said that nothing can compare to living in the wild.

Sugalski said, "Their life is performing and chaining, chaining and performing. It's not any way for an animal or a person to live."

"I think those animals are taken care of better than the people," JonKock said.

"I don't think they're mistreated in any way."

Copyright 2012 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.