May 26, 2010 5:53 PM by Elaine Sheridan
Animal rights group PETA(People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) made a stop at a Colorado Springs elementary school this afternoon.
A member in a wounded elephant costume called "Ellie" greeted students and parents as school got out at Evans Elementary around 3pm.
The "elephant" handed out activity booklets that explain what PETA believes to be abuse of baby elephant by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus-which is scheduled to visit Colorado Springs in a couple of weeks.
"If children knew how animals suffer behind the scenes, their smiles would quickly turn to frowns," says PETA Director Debbie Leahy
Some parents were supportive of the group's stance on animal circus performers, but other parents were outraged that the group was targeting small children.
School District 49 sent notices to parents about the planned demonstration yesterday and said that PETA and the protest was in no way affiliated with the school or the district, and they believe that they were targeted by the group because they are one of the few schools in the area who are not yet on summer break.
As for the treatment of the circus animals, Ringling Brothers says "Trainers teach animals routines that showcase their physical abilities and beauty, as well as their distinctive behaviors. Our training methods are based on reinforcement in the form of food rewards and words of praise. Verbal or physical abuse and the withholding of food or water are strictly prohibited."