Bring that circus protest to help Tennessee Walkers

This Tennessee walking horse is fitted with pads but not chains.

The circus came to town, and protesters popped out of the woodwork.

They held signs decrying cruelty to animals.

They gave interviews saying they are pleased the Barnum & Bailey Circus announced earlier this month that elephants -- the animals that symbolize "The Greatest Show on Earth" -- will be phased out of Barnum's three traveling shows by 2018.

photo Asia is a 47-year-old Asian elephant who has been working with the circus nearly her entire life.

But why wait until then, asked the protesters from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other groups.

Certainly all animals should have advocates to speak for their humane treatment.

Yet it seems a bit incongruous here in Tennessee -- home of Tennessee Walking Horse soring -- and here in Chattanooga -- the place where a Tennessee Walking Horse Hall of Fame trainer, Jackie McConnell, was prosecuted, pleaded guilty and sentenced -- that it's easier to spot protesters for a circus animals than to find consistent support for more humane treatment of Tennessee's own iconic horse breed.