Undaunted, the traveling circus known as PETA continues to follow the Cole Brothers Circus throughout Central Jersey preaching their mission to boycott the circus over its treatment of circus animals…and over circuses in particular that feature animal acts.

About a half-dozen members of PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, hoped their signs would make families visiting the Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars reconsider purchasing tickets to the shows, which includes tiger, elephant and poodle acts.

The Cole Bros. Circus is home to about 15 tigers, five or six Asian elephants, and a dozen poodles, said Renee Storey, vice president of the company.

Elizabeth Dietz, 57, of Manchester, who joined the PETA protest, said circus life is unnatural for elephants, which need large areas to graze, walk and nurture family relationships. Dietz said she has fostered orphaned elephants at a nursery in Nairobi and traveled to different areas of Africa to see elephants.

Storey disagreed, and said the circus participates in captive breeding programs, which help to preserve the species. Exposing the public to wild animals helps build support for conservation efforts, she said.

PETA members allege the Cole Bros. Circus neglected two elephants, who were hundreds of pounds underweight. According to PETA, the circus agreed to pay $15,000 to settle complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees federal animal welfare programs.

“We are appealing to parents and grandparents not to take children to animal circuses because every ticket purchased supports suffering,” Delcianna Winders, PETA Foundation director of captive animal law enforcement, said in a prepared statement.

Supports suffering?

Supports perhaps our appreciation and enjoyment of animals.

I know…I’m sure many members of PETA don’t want to see the majestic elephant that once roamed the plains of Africa reduced to a ballerina.

And I would say, yes, I’d support you if that animal were in any way mistreated in order to turn it into a ballerina.

But to not allow the animal to exist in captivity at all?
Where oh where does it end?

Were it up to PETA, all circuses would exclude animal acts, all horseback riding trails would close, all zoos would close along with aquariums; and the only appreciation children would be able to cultivate for these animals would be through virtual tours on a computer.