The Colorado Animal ACTion Network’s mark is being found all over Denver these days. Advertising signs bought by the group now appear on RTD buses and 16th Street Mall Shuttles that depict the cruel treatment of elephants by circus animal handlers. There are 30 signs in all, triple the number posted last year with the goal of convincing would-be patrons not attend the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. The famous circus arrives on October 3 for a two-week stint in the Mile High City.
Network members will be at the Denver Coliseum and the Pepsi Center to protest on each date that circus operations are running. Peaceful protests are nothing new for the AAN, but growing support is. The group successfully raised funds for the 30 bus billboards over the past half year by seeking donations from various sources and are now even garnering compliments from the west coast for their efforts.
“Bravo Animal ACTion Network” said Connie Sanchez of California in an e-mail to the group that was posted on the AAN meet-up site. Sanchez is a holistic doctor who advocates vegan diets and has been to Denver to speak at presentations on nutrition.
Animal ACTion Network will host 15 different protest demonstrations against the circus at various times that coincide with show openings and has a published a schedule of the gatherings. The first will commence Thursday. The circus protests are an undertaking that compliments other peaceful protests that the group has carried continuously for years.
The Peaceful Fur Outreach is an ongoing campaign in which some current AAN members have participated in for decades, according to Charlotte Cressey, a California-based Yoga instructor and business owner who supports the AAN. Fur has been a hot target for animal rights activists since the early 1990s, and it remains a traditional target for the ‘Network, whose latest leafleting campaign will take place this Saturday, October 5 outside of Marks-Lloyds and Hamilton Furs in the Cherry Creek neighborhood as a continuation of network’s ongoing educational campaign to expose cruelty to fur-bearing animals in hopes of deterring would-be clothing buyers to refrain from buying animal-based coats and ornamental accessories made from fur. One the same day, two anti-circus protests will take place the same day at the Denver Coliseum to deter would-be circus patrons from supporting cruelty involved with performing naimals.
The circus protests will continue on Sunday, October 6, and then re-commence to run continuously from October 9 to October 13, the day of Ringing Brothers’ last local circus performance for this year.
The names of the activists seldom make headlines, even as their campaigns continue to garner more financial support, more membership and more media coverage.
“We’re not about ego here at all,” says AAN co-organizer Ann Swissdorf. “Our work here is supposed to about animals and for animals,” and so that’s what it’s about, Swissdorf told the Examiner.