The Herald of Everett, Washington
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PETA to protest outside Everett's Lowell Elementary School

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By Andy Rathbun
Herald Writer
EVERETT -- The spectacle of a wounded elephant wearing a bloodied bandage may greet children today when they leave Lowell Elementary School.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals plans to send the costumed protestor to the school at the same time about 30 students in the third through fifth grades are dismissed from summer classes.
The animal rights group will try to give the children "activity books" and describe how elephants are beaten and jabbed with spiked bullhooks.
"Our goal isn't to give them nightmares," PETA spokeswoman Virginia Fort said. "It's to teach them compassion."
The protest will take place a week before Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus arrives at Comcast Arena. The circus has seven shows scheduled from Aug. 26 to 29.
The Everett School District plans to keep PETA off of school property and away from kids.
District spokeswoman Mary Waggoner said the school has been in touch with Everett police. She faulted the idea of "someone who suddenly surprises a young child with a picture that could be upsetting."
Waggoner said the school's staff also let parents know about the protest.
"Using little kids to make this statement is not something we think the parents would appreciate," she said.
Fort said students love ''Ellie the Elephant,'' the name given to the costumed protestor.
"Kids are smarter than we give them credit for," she said.
PETA and the circus are constantly at odds. The animal rights group says the circus abuses its animals. Ringling Bros. says its practices go beyond meeting regulatory requirements.
PETA also may be on hand during the Comcast Arena dates, but tries to stage protests beforehand, Fort said. "People are buying tickets in advance," she said.

Andy Rathbun: 425-339-3455;
Story tags » EverettLowell Elementary School

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