Protest Exotic Animal Rides at the Ren Fest

579636_10151624959282825_1591945817_n-300x120While many people jump at the opportunity to get close to animals by buying exotic animal rides at fairs and fests, they probably wouldn’t if they knew about the suffering the animals endure being treated as amusement park attractions.

Much of the violence isn’t seen by the public because the owners of these operations know that people would be enraged if they knew how these animals are punished and beaten into submission. They have to make the elephants avoidant to punishment so that they will behave in front of spectators.

These animals are chained for many hours every day. They are trucked around the country in small trailers or trucks. If they were allowed to live in the wild, they would have extensive social networks and travel miles upon miles every day. But when they’re sentenced to being “rides”, they have to plod in boring circles day after day with hundreds of pounds on their backs, for hour upon boring, uncomfortable hour.

Yet, despite this, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival continues to feature exotic animal rides.

Join us in protest Saturday, October 3rd from 10am-12 noon. We will meet at the Highway 169 entrance at 3525 145th Street West in Shakopee. Signs will be provided, as will literature to hand out. All you need to do is show up with your sunscreen on and water in hand. If you’d like to carpool from the ARC office in south Minneapolis, please post in the Facebook event.

Tell the MN Ren Fest that Animal Abuse is Unacceptable

11954756_10153159707022825_5653617506396730571_nKrissy is one of the elephants forced to walk in circles all day with people on her back at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Krissy is 26 years old. She was taken from the wild as a baby and since then has endured brutal beatings, electric shocks, and spent most of her life in chains.

This is Mike Swain, son of Bill Swain, the owner of Trunks and Humps, the supplier for the elephant rides at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. You can see Mike Swain beating Krissy, viciously dragging her to the ground with a hook, and kicking her in the face. This video was taken when Mike Swain, Krissy, and Boo were with Bailey Bros. Circus. Krissy is now “owned” by Bill Swain and Texas-based Trunks and Humps.

The Minnesota Renaissance Festival needs to know that this is unacceptable. Join our demonstration on Sunday, September 6 from noon-2:00 p.m. Meet at the Highway 169 entrance at 3525 145th Street West in Shakopee. Carpool will also be available from the ARC office. Signs will be provided, as will literature to hand out. All you need to do is show up with your sunscreen on and water in hand. More details at Minnesota Animal Rights Meetup.

Don’t Get Taken for A Ride at the Ren Fest

Boycott Ren Fest Exotic Animal RidesWhen an intelligent, social, endangered elephant is reduced to an amusement park ride, it degrades us all in light of what we know about their complex needs. Elephants move in big, open spaces, live in large herds, and show compassion for family members. Camels also travel for miles a day in the open desert and have extensive social networks in the wild. In contrast, wild animals used for rides endure confinement, long journeys in cramped vehicles, brutal control methods, and physical violence.You can help end this abuse.

Many people haven’t thought about animal rides from the animals’ point of view. These incredible creatures are carted from one location to another and then prodded to walk in circles day after day after day. Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture warns, “You always put yourself at risk when you go near an elephant, no matter how good the trainer/handler and elephant appear to be.” This is because elephants are wild animals who are forced to comply with their handlers’ demands by force, and sometimes they will reach a limit, resist their captors, and revolt.

Yet, despite their knowledge of the inherent cruelty and danger, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival continues to feature exotic animal rides. Call the Ren Fest promoter, Mid-America Festivals, at 952-445-7361 or email them at and let them know many festivals have dropped these rides and you’d like them to be next.

Join our protest on Sunday, August 30th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to raise awareness about these rides. Meet at the Highway 169 entrance to the festival at 3525 145th Street West in Shakopee. Find more details at Minnesota Animal Rights Meetup

Sit out on the rides, not on the animals; there are lots of ways to have a great time at the fest without hurting animals!

In Memory of Cecil and All Other Animals

CecilJane Goddall said it best: “I was shocked and outraged to hear the story of Cecil, Zimbabwe’s much loved lion. Not only is it incomprehensible to me that anyone would want to kill an endangered animal (fewer than 20,000 wild lions in Africa today) but to lure Cecil from the safety of a national park and then to shoot him with a crossbow…? I have no words to express my repugnance. He was not even killed outright, but suffered for hours before finally being shot with a bullet. And his magnificent head severed from his wounded body. And this behaviour is described as a “sport.” Only one good thing comes out of this – thousands of people have read the story and have also been shocked. Their eyes opened to the dark side of human nature. Surely they will now be more prepared to fight for the protection of wild animals and the wild places where they live. Therein lies the hope.”

Honor Cecil by taking action: Write to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service immediately to urge them to issue a final rule listing the lion as “Threatened” and stopping all trophy imports.

The Animal Rights Coalition hopes that Cecil’s murder will not only open peoples’ eyes to the senseless killing of wild animals for “sport”, whether that be lions in Africa or bears in Minnesota, but that it will also cause people to think about all of the animals killed daily, whether for sport, supposed entertainment, or a temporary craving for a hamburger. Consider moving to a plant-based diet and make the world a more peaceful place, both for yourself and for the animals.

Growth. Innovation. Opportunity.

2014 Annual Report CoverGrowth. Innovation. Opportunity. 2014 was a year of strategic expansion for ARC. We saw victories and growth in our programs and campaigns to help animals. We experimented with new ideas for outreach via social media online, tried out new events and venues for in-person outreach, and improved our volunteer program with formal training for volunteers in specific areas of outreach. We learned a lot and we’re putting that new knowledge to work right now.

We want to thank our volunteers and donors for your gifts of time and funds in 2014. You are the backbone of the work we do. None of what we accomplish could be done without you. Our organization is only as extraordinary as those who support us. Together we’ll continue to think outside the box and learn and grow, putting each new lesson to work as we reshape the world for animals. Please check out our 2014 Annual Report to see what we accomplished for animals with your help.

Circuses: Traveling Torture for Animals

Carson & Barnes circus protestARC volunteers organized a demonstration against the Carson & Barnes circus in St. Michael on Tuesday, July 21 and reminded the public that wild animals are wild, not playthings for our amusement. Thank you to all for standing up for animals used in entertainment!

Carson & Barnes was cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) earlier in 2015 for failing to provide adequate veterinary care to Nina the elephant, who lost 500 pounds over just a few months. The circus has also been cited for using excessive force with a bullhook—a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one end—and paid a penalty to the USDA after undercover video footage showed a trainer violently attacking elephants with a bullhook.

The USDA filed a formal complaint against Carson & Barnes in May 2015 for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). According to the complaint and news reports, the circus allowed three elephants—Viola, Kelly, and Isa—to run amok for 45 minutes at a performance in St. Charles, Missouri last year. The animals reportedly became “stressed” after circus performers asked the approximately 8,000 audience members to create loud noises by, among other things, stomping on the metal bleachers. The circus’s actions put the public in danger and caused the animals to sustain abrasions and lacerations.

How can we put a stop to this traveling torture of animals? – refuse to attend circuses with animal acts and ask your friends and family to do the same.

Befriending Bugs: 4 Ways to be a Bug Buddy

Dandelions_BeesYou’d have to be living under a rock with the pillbugs not to have heard the buzz about the trouble with bees these days. And I hear even the pillbugs are starting to get a little antsy. Bees are important to most forms of life because they act as the primary pollinators for so many plants, including most of the fruits and vegetables that humans need to be healthy. While we as individuals aren’t the primary perpetrators when it comes to spraying the chemicals killing bees, there are things we can do to create a safe haven in the spaces we care for. And we can be kind to other bugs with whom we share the earth, too.

1. Take home a bee house, butterfly house, or insect hotel from our vegan boutique, Ethique Nouveau. These unique and fun structures provide a customized habitat for insects, encouraging them to move in and stay awhile.

2. When mosquitos land on you, instead of slapping and killing them, simply blow on them and they’ll fly away. To discourage them from hanging out on you, try one of the new, all natural, chemical-free Para Kito clips we carry at Ethique Nouveau.

3. Pass on the pesticides and chemicals for your lawn. Not only are these substances toxic to insects, but they can also harm companion, wild, and aquatic animals when they wash into streams and lakes.

4. Listen to your inner child and embrace dandelions! Remember when you were a kid and loved to pick those cheerful yellow flowers? Sometimes grownups get things wrong – and being crabby about dandelions is one of them. They, and clover, are wildflowers and provide important food for bees.

In U.S., More Say Animals Should Have Same Rights as People

Mama cow and babyAmericans increasingly think that animals should have the same rights as people when it comes to protection against harm and exploitation according to new Gallup polling on the issue. About a third of Americans, 32%, believe animals should be given the same rights as people. This strong animal rights view is up from 2008 when 25% thought animals’ rights should be on par with humans. Very few Americans, just 3%, now believe animals require little protection from harm and exploitation “since they are just animals.”