Protests Against the Ringling Brothers in Salt Lake City, UT

The Ringling Brothers are coming to Salt Lake City, UT, this Thursday, September 22nd, until Sunday, September 25th, and the nonprofit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is asking you to come and join the protest against the circus with them! The protests will be held one and a half hours before each show every day, right in front of the Energy Solutions Arena at the intersection of South Temple and 300 West. The opening-day protest will be held on Thursday, September 22nd, from 11:45 AM until 1:00 PM, and the opening-night protest will take place later that day from 5:15 PM until 7:00 PM. Visit the official Facebook page for the rest of the times and dates. Come be the voice for the voiceless!

The Ringling Brothers brutally treat their baby elephants by shocking them with electric prods, striking them with sharp hooks, and slamming them to the ground. These elephants are bound tightly by ropes and forced into unnatural and difficult positions in order to learn circus tricks. Former Ringling Brothers employees have admitted that there is a “culture of abuse at the circus” and that the elephants are chained up for the majority of their lives (Elephant Mistreatment at Ringling Brothers). The Ringling Brothers have been charged multiple times for violating the Animal Welfare Act after more than four of their baby elephants died. Find out more about the mistreatment and pain that the Ringling Bros. inflict on their animals here.

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Coldplay + MTF

Coldplay is an English alternative rock band that formed in 1998 after lead singer Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland met at University College London. Guy Berryman then joined as the bassist, and drummer Will Champion followed shortly after. The band has released four full-length studio albums and are currently working on their fifth one. They discography of Coldplay also includes five extended plays, twenty three singles, two live albums, and one compilation album. Coldplay has won several music awards, including six Brit Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), and seven Grammy Awards. They are considered to be one of the world’s best-selling music artists and have sold over fifty million records throughout the world. The band is also active in various social and political causes, and have participated in numerous charity projects.

The band is well-known for donating 15% of its money to charity. Throughout the years, they have participated in events like Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief and Teenage Cancer Trust. Coldplay also participates in the Meat Free Monday campaign, an attempt to help slow climate change, support animal rights, and lead healthier lives by having at least one meat-free day a week; lead singer Martin is also a vegan. In 2009, Coldplay auctioned off numerous significant band collectibles, including their first guitars, and gave all proceeds to Kids Company, a charity that helps disadvantaged young children and adolescents in London. The band is particularly outspoken on the issue of fair trade, especially lead singer Martin, and actively supports Amnesty International and Oxam’s Make Trade Fair (MTF) campaign.

Oxfam is an international confederation that consists of fourteen organizations that work in ninety-eight countries worldwide to find solutions to poverty and injustice. It works directly with people in those communities and tries to influence those that hold power to ensure that the poor people can improve their own lives and have a say in the decisions that affect them. The Make Trade Fair campaign is one of Oxfam’s well-known campaigns, and its purpose is to promote trade justice and fair trade among governments, institutions, and multinational corporations. The campaign focuses on eliminating the following trade practices: dumping, tariffs, unbalanced labor rights for women, and patent issues. Lead singer Chris Martin is an avid supporter of the Make Trade Fair Campaign. He has traveled to Ghana and Haiti to meet farmers and see the effects of unfair trade practices and even has the initials “M.T.F.” printed on his piano. He also draws an equal sign on his left hand before every concert and major event to symbolize his support for fair trade.

From helping cancer patients, to supporting animal rights, to advocating for fair trade, to donating to underprivileged kids, it’s not hard to see that Coldplay has made a significant impact on the world today in many different areas. We may not all have the money that Coldplay has, but we can still do something and we can still make an impact. To get involved in the Make Trade Fair campaign, click here to see what you can do to make the world a better place.

Rise Against + PETA

Rise Against is a punk rock band that formed in 1999 from Chicago, IL. The band consists of lead singer and rhythm guitarist Tim McIlrath, lead guitarist and backing vocalist Zach Blair, bass guitarist and backing vocalist Joe Principe, and drummer Brandon Barnes. They have released 6 studio albums, 2 EPs, and 2 DVDs. In 2008, the band was awarded the “Best Punk Artist” by the Rock on Request Awards, the American annual music awards run by the music webzine Rock on Request, and was awarded the “Best Animal-Friendly Band” award in 2009 by PETA. The members of Rise Against are known for their political lyrics and activism, and being vegetarians and active supporters of PETA/animal rights. In 2007, they endorsed a new line of vegan Vans Shoes in an effort to contribute to animal rights. Except for Barnes, the rest of the members also follow the straightedge lifestyle, which consists of abstaining from alcohol and recreational drug use.

McIlrath actively participates in PETA protests and even hands out the organization’s flyers and books at the shows. He and the rest of the band have given many interviews about animal cruelty and animal rights, and have appeared in PETA’s videos to express their beliefs on vegetarianism, the meat and fast food industry, fur and fashion use of animal skins, animal testing, and dissection. In one of the interviews about being a vegetarian, McIlrath puts it quite simply: “If we can make vegetarianism, veganism, work on the road, you can make it work at home. All four members of Rise Against, none of us eat meat.” To advocate animal rights and vegetarianism, their music video for their song “Ready to Fall” shows footage of animal cruelty and the destruction of our planet; that video can be viewed under the Videos tab. Their fifth album, Appeal to Reason, even included a PETA sticker, encouraging people to take a stance against animal cruelty and fight for animal rights. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was founded in 1980 by Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco. It is an animal rights nonprofit organization located in Norfolk, VA, and is believed to be the largest animal rights group. The motto of PETA is: “animals are not ours to eat, experiment, or use for entertainment”, and the organization focuses on four main issues: opposition to factory farming, fur farming, animal testing, and animals in entertainment. PETA is famous for its aggressive campaigns and consumer boycotts; it is also well-known for its large celebrity support network, including celebrities like Pamela Anderson and Drew Barrymore. The organization has targeted large corporations such as Wendy’s, KFC, and Burger King, and their consumer boycotts have focused on Avon, General Motors, and more. PETA has also conducted numerous undercover investigations by sending their staff into a facility as an employee where they wear hidden cameras and take pictures and videos of the abuse. The organization has conducted investigations in research labs, factory farms, circuses, and slaughterhouses, and then released the footage they captured as videos and short films. They have also used this footage as evidence that these facilities are violating the Animal Welfare Act and have been able to assist in the charging of companies for violations or even shutting them down.

I had the privilege of seeing Rise Against with Bad Religion and Four Year Strong live in concert last month and I can honestly say that it was one of the best shows I have ever been to. Of course, PETA had a booth there to advocate for animal rights and support one of their greatest supporters. If the band is ever on tour in your area, I highly recommend going to the show. You will not be disappointed, I guarantee it. Rise Against has been one of my favorite bands ever since I was a young teenager, and I have always respected their ability to write meaningful songs and the courage they have to stand up for their beliefs. The fact that they are avid supporters of animal rights has made me an even prouder supporter of the band and their music because I myself am vegetarian and have been for 4 1/2 years. I am also the owner of four happy and healthy pets: a dog, two cats, and a bird. Wait, technically five pets now because my sister just adopted a cat from the shelter recently…..I have yet to meet him!

   

Growing up with animals has taught me that they are to be treated kindly and fairly, and being a volunteer at the local animal shelter all throughout my high school years made me realize that unfortunately, not all animals are given the love and care that they deserve. It made me realize that something needs to be done to end the suffering of animals and that I could do something about it. And that’s why I decided to go vegetarian. It’s healthy, there are tasty foods to try out, and best of all, it doesn’t involve killing innocent and defenseless animals. I encourage all those who aren’t vegetarian to just try it, even for a day. Think of all the animals you would save by choosing not to eat them. And who knows, maybe you’ll decide to go vegetarian.

Still a meat lover? Well, maybe this article about bacteria found in almost half of U.S. meat will make you change your mind.

For more information about PETA, visit their website or go to peta2.com to get involved.