Getting Topless for Animal Rights Downtown, It's, Yes, Another PETA Protest

If you happened to stroll past Pegasus Plaza downtown over the lunch hour, what follows may not be news to you. Odds are, you already noticed the 20-some protesters wielding signs with behind-the-scenes photos of elephants and anti-circus slogans.

Or maybe you noticed the half-naked woman lying on the sidewalk in chains.

Not that you needed us to confirm it, but this afternoon's protest at Main and Akard was the just the latest local show from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, this time to gather momentum against Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. In a demonstration last year against seal hunting, PETA littered a downtown street corner with bloody stuffed animals, but today's protest marked a return to the organization's signature naked-women-for-animals move.

Playing the part of the beaten elephant today was actress Meggan Anderson, lying with her back to the street with a chain over one leg, her right arm crossed across her bare chest and simulated red gashes stuck to her back. Presumably staying in character, she declined to chat about, you know, how it's going down there on the sidewalk, but PETA campaign director Amanda Fortino was more interested in chatting about today's protest, the campaign's last stop along the Ringling Bros. tour route.

Update at 4:31 p.m.: Almost as if they'd been prepared for just such an outcome, PETA's Michael Lyubinsky sends word this afternoon that Anderson was cuffed and hauled away by "approximately 30 officers." DPD Senior Corporal Kevin Janse confirms for us that, yes, she's been taken to jail and charged with disorderly conduct "for trying to incite a crowd" -- a class C misdemeanor -- "because of what she was dressed in." Could've been the chains, the bacon-like simulated wounds on her back or maybe, you know, the bare skin from the waist up.

Janse says there were more like eight officers there, and made the arrest "on a routine patrol" when they "saw a crowd starting to gather." We're waiting to see if any more salient animal-rights details are contained in the police report, which hasn't been filed yet, and will update with any news. But there is a video after the jump.

As Daniel pointed out Monday, PETA's beef is with the conditions in Ringling Brothers' elephant training programs, and their opposition extends all the way to clowns from the circus reading to kids at the Fort Worth Public Library.

While a whistleblower from the circus armed PETA with behind-the-scenes video of Ringling Bros. elephants-in-training a while ago, Fortino says the group has new photos from baby elephant training programs that show elephants being "gouged with bull hooks, electrocuted with hot shots, tied down by all four limbs and wrestled to the ground by grown men."

Some of those photos were on the signs held by Dallas PETA supporters today, she said. A guy with a TV strapped to his chest was there too, to complete the multimedia onslaught.

Denise Decasper, one of the local sign-toting friends of PETA, said she'd been encouraged by the reception they were getting downtown -- no shocked tourists, no angry meat-eaters. So far, anyway. "Everybody's just looking at the posters," she said. "Well, the woman first. Then the posters."

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