Animal rights advocates protest Tarzan Zerbini Circus

WEBB CITY, Mo.–The circus is back in Webb City, and while plenty of people were seen entering the big top, not everyone at the circus was there to watch the show.

Animal rights activist August Elliot Wyltt said he decided to protest the circus this weekend to educate the public on what he said happens behind the scenes.

“We are trying to boycott and let people know what goes on in the circus to wild animals. We’re here on their behalf, letting people know that while the circus purports to be a place of entertainment and joy for families, behind the scenes for animals, it is a place of exploitation,” Wyltt said.

In response to these protests, the circus said they want these protestors to see for themselves how these animals are really treated.

“It’s a misconception. We’d like to invite them actually to come and see our facility and see how we take care of our animals before they judge what we’re doing here…the animals are very well taken care of,” said Tarzan Zerbini ringleader, Joseph Bauer.

Wyllt said he hasn’t been inside of the show, but said he still believes all circuses make their animals do things that cause them distress.

“I don’t want to contribute my money to it, and I’ve looked into some of the other shows and some of the other things that this circus has done, and what all circuses do at the end of the day is, in order to make a show and entertainment they have to train these animals to do things that they don’t do naturally in the environment.”

But Bauer said that doesn’t happen at this circus, and that everything is approved through local agencies.

“The animals meet all the government requirements, state vets, we have all of our vets that come out to see our animals, our animals don’t tour very much…a lot of our elephants are down at Two Tails Ranch, a sanctuary down in Florida, where people can come and see them in their natural environment, the horses are regular horses and they have stables back there like everybody else does…there’s no abuse or anything like that. I don’t think we would be allowed to get those permits if there were any sign of abuse through or animals, the vets,…the SPCA would definitely know it,” said Bauer.

 The Tarzan Zerbini circus will run through Sunday, and so will the protests.