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Posted at 1:10 PM ET, 03/ 9/2010

Should PETA be protesting at elementary schools?

By Valerie Strauss

A person in an elephant costume with a bloody bandage wrapped around a supposed wound on its head is going to be standing outside of a D.C. public elementary school this afternoon in an effort by PETA--People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals--to inform young people about the dangers it says Ringling Brothers circus poses to animals.

PETA has been in a running battle with Ringling Brothers , periodically alleging abuse of one animal or another, with the circus denying it.

The animal rights organization has been staging protests at other public schools around the country. Today's is set for outside Barnard Elementary School in Northwest Washington.

It’s difficult to oppose a protest in support of the ethical treatment of animals--except when it is staged in an obvious attempt to use kids on their way to school to get publicity.

PETA officials say they are simply trying to educate young kids. But anybody who knows anything about education knows that publicity stunts with high shock value levels aren’t the right way to teach young kids anything.

If PETA wants young people to develop a conscience about animal rights, there are smarter ways of going about this.


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By Valerie Strauss  | March 9, 2010; 1:10 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Schools  | Tags:  D.C. schools, PETA, circus  
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Many kids in DC are so politically aware they'll probably assume the hurty elephant is just a comment on the Republican Party.

Posted by: gardyloo | March 9, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I don't see why not; Ringling Brothers and other circuses inject their propaganda and advertising into schools all the time. My niece's class was handed out glossy paper circus advertisements in her public school homeroom class by her TEACHER after the circus sent free propaganda "packs" to the teachers at their work addresses. That's far more insidious and invasive than someone standing outside on public property.

Posted by: VirginiaDad | March 9, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I agree with VirginiaDad. Ms. Strauss, if you want to see and criticize PETA for using school kids for publicity then I would expect you to also see and criticize Ringling for using school kids and hospital kids for publicity when they send their clowns to teach "proper exercise." However, I didn't see any criticism of Ringling in your editorial.

Posted by: pcuvie | March 10, 2010 2:00 AM | Report abuse

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