The Wrap Up!
We apologize that this comes almost a month late. The day the Shrine Circus left Ontario - August 15th - just also happened to be the day that ex-employee allegations finally broke in the Toronto Star against Marineland - the marine park in Niagara Falls, On. Many members of our organizing team were also part of the organizing team of Marineland Animal Defense - a grassroots pressure campaign against Marineland and John Holer - and those who were not were quickly recruited. We were flooded. All of our social media sites/personal pages/emails were impossible to keep up with and in the meantime we managed to also organize two demonstrations - one with over 500 people and another around 300 folks. We haven’t had much time to update this site, the CCAF page, or provide any kind of wrap up. We hope you will accept our apology!
When this idea was first presented it was presented as a way to both apply and increase pressure against TZ Productions and the Shrine Circus, but it also had the duel purpose of (re)building a grassroots network in Ontario capable of confront all forms of animal (ab)use - whether it be traveling circuses and rodeos, specific zoo/marine park sites, slaughter houses, etc. The foundation is not complex - together we are strong. When we are sharing our resources, when we are meeting face to face, when we are helping each other and moving forward together we are all stronger than we would be individually, or in isolation in our communities, towns, regions. We illustrated this all summer as people travelled across the province supporting other towns, bringing new tactics, refining old ones, showing solidarity and protecting each other. Record demonstrations were seen in numerous towns and by the time the Circus left Ontario they faced demonstrations in 20 of the 22 towns they travelled to. Larry Solheim, General Manager of TZ Productions, was forced to admit in the media that this year we were more co ordinated, more organized and more aggressive. This was done with a hub budget of under $500 - no paid staff - and no experts or professionals, just people power. The power and strength of people in each town organizing in a coordinated fashion with everyone else. This was year one and our first meeting happened just 6 weeks before they hit the Province. If the Shrine Circus returns next year - they can expect an even greater and more coordinated resistance.
As to rebuilding grassroots networks - we think one measure of success has already been seen with the shift to Marineland. Almost the entire CCAF organizing hub is now actively working on this campaign - people from all over. Aside from this, at our last two demonstrations CCAF organizers from Kingston, Ottawa, London, GTA, Orangeville, Barrie and Hamilton have been in attendance. It is their contributions - organizing rides and promoting the demonstrations - that have pushed the demonstration numbers at Marineland well passed previous records. Together we are strong.
For everyone who gave up a weekend (or more), called in sick, offered a spot in their car, made it out to a demo, or supported the campaign - we appreciate everything you did to make this summer a successful one. Let’s all stay in touch and keep building this foundation!