PETA Features Shackled, Beaten Woman to Protest Circus

Prior to an appearance by the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Grand Forks, North Dakota, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals promised to pull out all the stops to protest. In a press release, PETA promised,

PETA Beauty Bares All, Including Truth Behind CircusÂ’s Phony Claims

. . .

Wearing nothing but shackles and covered in “scars” as a result of violent “beatings”—an everyday reality for animals in circuses—a woman will protest the arrival of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. She will be joined by protesters holding a banner that reads, “Shackled, Lonely, Beaten,” while others show footage of elephant beatings on body screen TVs and hold poster-size photos of animals who have died at RinglingÂ’s hands:

The woman turned out to be PETA activist Christy Griffin. According to a report by the Grand Forks Herald,

Around noon, the woman, wearing a dark robe, showed up with a fully clothed companion and proceeded to set up a big, black sign on the sidewalk: “Circus animals: shackled, lonely, beaten.”

Then, following in Lady Godiva’s footsteps, she disrobed and half lay before the sign, wearing nothing but a pair of briefs and metal shackles. Makeup made it look as if she had three big gashes on her back.

This, she seemed to say, is what a human would be like if she were a circus animal.

As you can see from a picture that appeared in the Grand Forks Herald, however, Christy Griffin is clearly not naked,

This led some passersby to accuse PETA of lying,

“She’s got panties on,” said retiree Pete Nikel, who also says he thinks PETA people are crazy. “If you say you’re going to be totally naked, you gotta be totally naked!”

Grand Forks Herald columnist Ryan Bakken added a few days later,

In order to draw attention, PETA had promised a naked woman protesting the treatment of circus animals. Since she wore the blanket and briefs, the nudity guarantee was a half-truth, proving she has a bright future in politics.

This was an outrage, as many truth-seeking citizens (men) had surrendered their lunch hour to learn about mistreatment of circus animals. And, well, without the nudity, she lost her credibility as an expert. What would a clothes-wearing person know about animal cruelty?

One Grand Forks sanitation truck drove by the downtown street corner several times in hopes of finding a naked, credible spokeswoman. Mistreatment of circus animals also must be a high priority of construction workers, judging by their numerous drive-by visits.


Circus: Chained to a cause. Tu-Uyen Tran, Grand Forks Herald, August 12, 2005.

PETA: GF circus protest will feature shackled, ‘beaten’ naked woman. Grand Forks Herald, August 11, 2005.

Half naked? We barely noticed. Ryan Bakken, Grand Forks Herald, August 14, 2005.

Naked Woman—Chained And ‘Beaten’—Protests Ringling’S Arrival In Fargo. Press Release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, August 11, 2005.

IDA and PETA Protest Oklahoma State Prison Rodeo

In Defense of Animals and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals both sent letters this month demanding a stop to the Oklahoma State Prison Rodeo.

For 64 years the prison rodeo has featured inmates at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary competing in the world’s only prison rodeo.

In a letter to Pittsburgh County Court Clerk Linda Price Williams, In Defense of Animals’ Kristie Phelps wrote,

I am writing on behalf of the 80,000 members of In Defense of Animals to urge you to end the Oklahoma State Prison Rodeo. We support measures by inmate Michael C. Washington to stop the Oklahoma State Prison Rodeo, but for different reasons altogether. Certainly no one would disagree that violent criminals should be prohibited from inflicting any sort of suffering. However by having inmates take part in a rodeo, the State of Oklahoma is encouraging it. The event gives inmates-40 percent of whom are imprisoned for violent crimes-the right to torment and abuse frightened animals in front of a cheering audience.

Experts, including Federal Bureau of Investigation profiler Robert K. Ressler, have proved that a high percentage of violent criminals have records of abusing animals. It is reckless to foster this violence, especially since many inmates will one day be released back into society.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Christy Griffin told the McAlester News Capital & Democrat that rather than using animals the Department of Corrections should create a weightlifting or basketball competition.

Despite the protests, the rodeo went on as scheduled over the Labor Day weekend.


Animal rights groups pounce on OSP rodeo. Doug Russell, McAlester News Capital & Democrat, August 28, 2004.

Prison rodeo protested. Carrie Coppernoll, The Oklahoman, September 5, 2004.

IDA Supports Inmate’s Request for Cancellation of Prison Rodeo. Press Release, In Defense of Animals, August 26, 2004.

PETA Takes Protest to Petco Executive's Neighbors

In January, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals took its campaign against Petco to the neighborhood of Petco chief executive officer, Brian Devine.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, PETA members handed out fliers to Devine’s neighbors reading, in part,

Meet your neighbor . . . Please let him know you feel about the suffering and deaths of countless animals in his Petco stores.

The protesters included PETA coordinator Christy Griffin who dressed up in a parrot suit for the occasion.

In a press release on the action, PETA’s Daphna Nachminovitch said,

Brian Devine has ignored the suffering of animals in PETCO stores for years, while conditions have deteriorated. His neighbors have a right to know about his true nature.

Petco spokesman Don Cowan told the Union-Tribune,

We strive constantly to provide a safe, healthy and humane environment for companion animals in our stores.


PETA takes protest into exec’s home turf
. Frank Green, Union-Tribune, January 17, 2004.

PETA Takes Anti-Petco Campaign Straight To CEO’s Backyard. Press Release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, January 15, 2004.