3 min read

The Activist Tweet Storm That Ringling Bros. Doesn’t Want You To See

<p>Flickr/angela n.</p>

Twitter has fundamentally changed the way activists operate. Last night, animal activists from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) took that to heart when they attended the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circus in Bakersfield, Calif. The activists tweeted throughout the performance, offering some disturbing dispatches from under the big top:

PETA certainly isn't the only one - many organizations and activists use Twitter to galvanize support or provide on-the-ground updates. One notable example is Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project, which tweets updates from the dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan every year. They report exactly when hunting boats leave the cove, and when and if they return with dolphins (so far this season, they have not herded any dolphins into the cove).

Sea Shepherd's Cove Guardians tweet updates from the cove as well:

Other groups use Twitter as a sounding board for updates on their cause, or to foster a community around an issue. One account, run by four former SeaWorld trainers featured in the CNN documentary "Blackfish," has become a feed devoted to news about orcas and other marine mammals:

Individuals, too, have been relying on Twitter to boost support for their causes - check out our list of conservationists to follow on Twitter here.

While activist at a circus can expose animal cruelty with one click on a smartphone, the internet community responds many times over. The hashtag #BoycottTheCircus has thousands of mentions now, and hundreds more after last night.