Photos by Maricel Evangelista
A two-day protest opposing the Jordan World Circus was held by students in conjunction with the Animal Defenders International Organization outside of the UCCU Center on Jan. 23-24.
For nearly 10 years, students have voiced their disapproval of the circus being held on campus, but feel they are not being heard. Four years ago, the Animal Defenders International Organization teamed up with students and local activists. They continue to support the movement by protesting the circus each year.
UVU’s Animal Allies Club recently expressed their concerns about the circus to the UCCU Center, but no changes have occurred, according to Danielle Davis, Animal Allies Club member.
Mark Hildebrand, UCCU Center director, said that they are not concerned with the protesters and feel that the event benefits the community.
When asked about the profit yielded from the circus, Hildebrand said that they do make a profit from these events and that the center “needs to make money to sustain [themselves] at UVU.”
“I think in the past UVU has made some small steps to support animal allies — meatless Mondays as an example,” Seren Wilson, a senior in legal studies, said. “But in the end, they seem to choose profit/money over the wellbeing of animals.”
Members of the Animal Allies Club feel that UVU doesn’t hear or care about their mission. Though their protests haven’t resulted in canceling the circus at UVU, they will continue to take a stand, according to Emma Teasdale, a senior in behavioral science.
“UVU is an amazing university that is always looking for ways to improve,” Teasdale said. “Eliminating the circus from UVU’s annual events would make the university much better. It would simply speak to the community that we believe in equality and compassion for all.”
While Hildebrand stated he has not seen any animal abuse by the Jordan World Circus, Teasdale and other members of the Animal Allies Club do not agree.
“There is research and videos of what goes on backstage at the Jordan World Circus. We are better than this to have proof and still allow this to go on,” Teasdale said. “Mistreatment of these beautiful animals isn’t right, no matter the amount of profit that is made.”
“My biggest motivation to protest is to educate others,” Wilson said. “I don’t want to shame them or make them feel guilty. I just want to help show them a new perspective.”