The Greatest Show on Earth Under Fire

"The Greatest Show on Earth" has made its way to Tallahassee.

But, it's not opening quietly as the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF) contends circus trainers are using training tools on elephants that cause substantial pain.

Allegations of abuse circus officials firmly deny.

There's little noise to this protest.

But, a lot of words on leaflets are citing allegations of animal abuse against the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

“At first people think I'm handing out Ringling literature, information about the show and that's literally what I'm giving them, information about the show that Ringling doesn't want them to know,” comments Fred Ellis of ARFF.

ARFF alleges that, "behind the glitz and glamour lies a world of untold animal suffering" through cruel training.

"This is the first I've heard of it, so, its a little confusing, but it's sad if that's what's happening,” explains Megan Crase, a circus attendee.

And Ringling Brothers officials say its not happening, that training is based on positive reinforcement, and the bond between animal and trainers is one of respect, trust, and affection.

"You should come see for yourself, it is not the case, the people here treat the animals very well, they treat them with love and care, the animals are treated like family just like the children here,” explains Circus Associate Production Manager Michaela Hayden.

And just like the Circus, the Animal Rights foundation will be traveling city to city throughout the state, quietly delivering their message, at the greatest show on earth.

Thursday’s performance is part of "the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus's 133rd edition. The circus officials say, it’s never been found in violation of the animal welfare act for abuse, neglect or mistreatment of animals.