, calling the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus "The Cruelest Show on Earth," gathered downtown today to protest the circus's Sept. 2-5 visit to Portland.
And in true PETA fashion, the animal rights group had a hook for its noon demonstration at the corner of Southwest Yamhill and Broadway. The protest of about 10 demonstrators was centered around Nicole Matthews,
a 27-year-old woman who sat nearly naked in the sun with fake cuts and ketchup-red blood
dripping down her back as a symbol of the brutal treatment that protesters say circus animals get.
"Facts and figures many times just go over people's heads and they don't pay attention," says Virginia Fort
, the PETA campaigner in charge of today's event. "But when they see a beautiful lady sitting naked on the street, it's going to grab their attention."
Fort, 25, says most people just don't realize what circus animals are forced through because it's all behind the scenes. "We hope that when people find out what Ringling is doing, they'll make the compassionate choice and decide to spend their money elsewhere."
Fort hopes demonstrations like this occurring across the country will encourage people to spend their money on circuses like Cirque Du Soleil
and the Pickle Family Circus
that use "willing human performers" instead of animals.
"It's outrage like this that's going to make a difference," she says.
Officials with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.