Last Wednesday's demonstration by PETA to warn against animal cruelty committed by Ringling Bros. Circus was not the first San Antonio saw this year.
In anticipation of Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus coming to town, they stepped up the shock value to get people to stop and pay attention. Earlier last month Sherri Pearson left her inhibitions on the road and stripped down to nothing but painted tiger stripes (and a strategically placed sign) and sat in a cage for an hour outside of Hemisfair Park.
Virginia Fort was the spokesperson for the event, because we all know tigers do not talk, and this is what she had to say about the demonstration.
Why use a naked lady?
Well PETA does very eye catching demonstrations in order to bring attention to these issues that are often veered off for racier headlines.
What is the issue being brought to light?
We're out here to bring attention to the cruelty and the violence going on behind the scenes at Ringling Bros. Elephants and other animals are put in shackles and tiny cages and they're beaten in order to force them to perform confusing and very challenging tricks.
Is this demonstration working?
Absolutely. I talk to people all the time who tell me that they just didn't know what was going on and they won't be going this year and they'll tell their friends and family which is exactly what we're out here trying to do.
Being parked outside of Hemisfair Park, there are a lot of kids that walk by. What about them?
Well children have a natural love of animals and if they knew what Ringling was doing behind the scenes - beating elephants with bull hooks, keeping tigers caged up to 50 weeks out of the year - they would be horrified and running in the other direction and this is just a way to get our point across. I also have been the naked tiger and I find it very liberating to be able to use what I have in order to speak up for a cause that I'm very passionate about. Sherri Pearson, who is our tiger today, feels the same way. She's volunteering her vacation time to come out and tour: Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and we'll be going to more cities after this. It's just a very passionate cause.