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High school students protest Shriners Circus

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Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

High school students say circus doesn't need animals to be fun

Mon, Sep. 18, 2006

Staff Writer

photo by Roger Hart/Ledger-Enquirer

Andy Lee, 16,right, and Doug Moyerman,17, students at Brookstone School, stage a protest outside the Columbus Civic Center on Sunday afternoon. The teens were rallying against alleged abuse of animals in the circus as the 43rd Shrine Circus was about to have its performance of the day.

"Honk if you love animals."

That message was inscribed in bold red letters on one of the poster-board signs held up by Doug Moyerman, Molly Simkins and Andy Lee during their Sunday afternoon protest of the 43rd Annual Columbus-Fort Benning Shrine Circus outside the Columbus Civic Center.

Tinny blasts from the horns of passing vehicles bolstered the spirits of the small pack of protesters determined to take a stand for the elephants, tigers and other beasts they say are routinely mistreated in circuses with animal acts.

Doug, a 17-year-old Brookstone High School senior, organized the protest in hopes the Shriners will make their annual fundraising event an animal-free zone.

"Very soon circuses all over are going to start using less and eventually no animals," Doug said.

Molly, a sophomore at Brookstone, said her love of animals drives her to come out and protest each year. A Columbus PAWS volunteer and aspiring veterinarian, she said the circus doesn't need animals to be entertaining.

"The people who are there of their own free will are just as entertaining," she said. "It just seems to me that animals that are used to roaming... the only places they get to go are in the ring and in their cages, and that seems really wrong."

Andy said he and his fellow protesters expected more people to show up and hold signs, but he wasn't discouraged.

The group stood on the sidewalk just outside the entrance of the Civic Center on Victory Drive for an hour.

"We've been the only ones out here doing this, but we reach a lot of people.


Contact Lily Gordon at 706-576-6284 or lgordon@ledger-enquirer.com

Further Reading:

The Royal Order of Jesters - The Shriners Secret Society Secret Society - 'Mirth is King'

The Shriners - The 'Krafty' Klowns