Skip to main content

Trial. The Plaintiffs Rest. Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. February 2009.

Back in November 2008, animal rights advocates and organizations were disappointed when the trial of Ringling Barnum & Bailey Circus didn't begin as scheduled due to another dilatory tactic by the defendants. They introduced another set of experts that necessarily had to be vetted, or cross-examined, by the plaintiffs before the trial could begin. Ringling has successfully delayed their court appearance by several years by employing such dilatory tactics. In August 2007, Tracy Silverman, General Counsel for the Animal Welfare Institute, said "After five years of legal wrangling, we look forward to unveiling the curtain at trial to expose the suffering and death of elephants at the hands of the so-called 'Greatest Show on Earth". These magnificent animals will finally have their day in Court."

Back then, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the federal district court in Washington D.C. scolded the circus for "wasting a considerable amount of time and resources" by employing "dilatory" tactics over several years.

The trial finally began in early February 2009 and since then the plaintiffs have decided to avoid public updates on the trial in an effort preserve and protect their case. And so animal welfare advocates have been in the dark so far. I managed to reach Tracy Silverman who graciously provided me with some basic information. According to Ms. Silverman, the court works on a 4-day week schedule, Friday being the free day. She also confirmed that the plaintiffs have rested their case. So, in other words, the plaintiffs have finished arguing their case. The court is now waiting for the defense to make their case, and that is expected to begin on Tuesday, March 3rd. Ms. Silverman expects this phase of the trial to take at least two weeks, possible three. Doing the simple math, we can expect the trial to end around the third week of March 2009. Ms. Silverman expressed some hope for presenting in the very near future the exhibits submitted as evidence by the plaintiffs, now that they have rested their case. The Animal Welfare Institute has a webpage dedicated to the trial, and you can see it at :


Popular posts from this blog

Northern New Jersey. Dog for Adoption. Simba. Pomeranian.

Here's a dog I want you to meet, Simba. He's an energetic little fellow who literally leaps in joy when it's time for a walk. I mean, Simba leaps vertically like he's on a pogo stick. He's very amusing. Simba was rescued from a pound down in West Virginia, and he's now with us in northern New Jersey. I love small dogs, and he's become my most recent favorite. Simba certainly qualifies as a lap dog. Last Sunday, after walking him, we sat in our patio area at the shelter and I gave him tummy rubs and back massages while he laid like a pillow on my lap. I've been told that Simba doesn't like having a collar put around his neck, and so he wears a harness instead. Interestingly, Simba is microchipped. So, he belonged to someone who cared for him. He's a good boy and only two years old. All predict that Simba will get adopted quickly, like most toy dogs do.

Bloomingdale Animal Shelter Society

UPDATE: Adopted by the Small Animal Rescue of Princeton, NJ

Poem. Captivity, Longing. Cruelty. Misery. Free the Animals.

Thumbing through some Robert Frost poems, I was led to this one by Maya Angelou . I don't know if Frost ever had an influence on Angelou, but certainly any American poet living today would be familiar with Frost's work. Frost and Whitman are my favorite poets, and the romantic poets ( Keats, Byron, and Shelley ) I can't bear. I find their work dense, abstruse and impenetrable. It's just a matter of taste and connectivity. I am no expert on verse, but I will accept the opinion of those who are. They warn us that Frost's poetry is deceivingly simple. If we were to try our hand at it, to put complicated emotions into simple verse, we would be tied up in knots.

Anyway, Angelou's poem below, Caged Bird, touches on the plaintive cries, the longing for better things, that captive individuals must go through. You can apply the core meaning or sentiment of this poem to any situation involving imprisonment or captivity, human or animal. Think of the dog in a dank, dark ba…

Hiking. Protection Against Snake Bites. Gaiters.

You might wonder what on Earth are these? They are called, "gaiters," and fashion has nothing to do with them. Gaiters act like shin guards against briars and other thorny plants, worn by those who work outdoors like forestry rangers, ranchers, and farmers. Gaiters come in different styles and material, but they normally protect the ankles up to the knees.

This pair provides protection against snake bites. New material called SuperFabric makes protection possible without putting on the usual thick, cumbersome gaiters with polycarbonate sheets embedded in them. This pair is flexible and light, made by Whitewater. I got this pair from

I believe that such protection is necessary for hikers considering that rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths are not rare along the trails, and they can be difficult to spot on the ground. I am willing to accept the prevailing theory that snakes, like most wild animals, will avoid hikers if given enough tim…