Having worked closely with the founders of Born Free USA, I am pretty appalled by the treatment of circus animals. I saw a TV ad for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, and it bought up that ugly old issue.
I’m not a joy-killer I promise! My daughter has even been to see the Ringling Bros Circus a few years ago – some friends invited her and I allowed her to go. When she returned, she said that the elephants looked happy. Hmmm – although I didn’t want to force the truth down her throat, I decided to show her a couple of videos to educate her about elephants. She now has a very different take on the whole thing. Sure, it’s fun for kids to go see actual wild animals – well if you can call if fun, watching animals doing tricks in captivity, but I understand the entertainment factor, but why not take them to see a movie like the IMAX Born To Be Free instead? Moreover, I think if people really understood how intelligent elephants really are, they’d think twice about supporting circuses.
As elephant voices says, “Elephants are among the most intelligent, socially intricate and emotionally complex non-human species – or so holds conventional wisdom.” If you haven’t already seen it, watch this video about Shirley the elephant who was reunited decades later with a baby she knew from a circus – have a tissue handy.
So, even if you are to believe what the circus official and marketing departments say about the treatment of animals, do you really think that such an intelligent and sensitive being would be happy kept in captivity? And let me add that there’s a huge difference between an elephant park/sanctuary where an animal roams free, and a circus where they are cruelly taught tricks and transported hundred s of miles in trucks to perform – ugh! If you can stomach it, take a look at this chilling slideshow, which made me burst into tears and leaves me in no doubt about the way baby elephants are trained.
Read what PETA has to say about the suffering that circus animals, especially animals are subjected to. And if you want to know if there is anything that you can do today:
1. Boycott any circus that uses animals. Look for an animal-free circuses instead.
2. Sign this Peta Petition to help stop cruelty in circuses.
3. If you want to see an end to all animals in circuses, go to The Captive Animals Protection Society and get involved with their goal.
Ironically, China, a country that isn’t renowned for its treatment of captive animals, has just today banned all animal circuses. I only hope the now redundant animals will go to a safe and humane sanctuary or zoo for the remainder of their days.