Animal Rights Foundation of Florida Protests at Gunther Gebel-Williams Funeral

Eight members of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida showed up to protest at the funeral of renowned circus performer Gunther Gebel-Williams.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that the group was led by Heather Lischin of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and carried signs with slogans such as “Gunther, take your whips and bullhorn with you, RIP.”

Lischin wore black and said, “We’re out here mourning for the animals who’ve died at the hands of Gunther and Ringling Bros.”

A friend of Gebel-Williams wrote a letter to the Herald-Tribune saying,

If you have a problem with animals performing in a circus ring, protest outside the arena, not at the funeral of a man who was not only a performer, but a husband, father, and grandfather as well. Shame on them for not having the decency and common courtesy to let his friends and family celebrate his life and grieve his death without having to endure their negative presence as we left.

Asking common decency from animal rights activists seems to be asking for a lot these days. On the brighter side, perhaps ARFF can now get together with the only other person I have ever heard stoop low enough to protest at a funeral — Fred Phelps of God Hates Fags infamy. Lischin’s sure managed to get her group in with some mighty fine company there.


Animal-rights supporters picket. By Thomas Becnel, Sarasota Herald Tribune, July 24, 2001.

Animal-rights protest insulting. Shelley Broome, Letter to the editor, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, July 28, 2001.

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