Thursday, March 21, 2013

Elephants Dance and Smash Watermelons in DUMBO, While PETA Rallies

Photos by MK Metz,
Eight Asian elephants danced and ate impressive piles of fresh fruit at Fulton Ferry Landing (not actually DUMBO) on Wednesday to advertise the arrival of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Clowns clowned, dancers danced and the King Charles Unicycle Troupe jumped rope while riding unicycles. Kids from P.S. 287 in Fort Greene were brought in to cheer and wave circus flags.

Ringmaster Andre McClain welcomed Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who issued an official proclamation declaring it Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Day in Brooklyn.

"Come one, come all, to see tantalizing tigers, exhilerating elephants and high-flying hijinks!" he said.

Clowns brought out watermelons, which the elephants smashed with their feet and snarfed up.

The elephants seemed used to the routine, and there didn't appear to be any abuse. But animal rights activists, including folks from PETA, held a small demonstration in front of the Eagle Warehouse to protest alleged mistreatment of young elephants during training. (This surveillance video of elephants getting hit with bull hooks by circus workers is a far cry from yesterday's pleasant affair.)

Ringling Bros. says their care "exceeds all federal animal welfare standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Animal Welfare Act."

The crowd seemed pretty happy with the show and hung around to watch the cleanup as the elephants were led to trucks parked under the Brooklyn Bridge.

More about this event at the Brooklyn Eagle, DNAinfo, and DumboNYC

Photos copyright MK Metz

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