Things That Suck (Issue #52): The Circus

Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight. - Albert Schweitzer

I was elated to see this recent Washington Post article about the training of circus elephants. Don't worry - the article is not overly graphic. Don't be afraid to check it out. When a former elephant trainer acknowledges that there is rampant cruelty in training these animals for circus acts, it's hard to spin it any other way.

Although I don't consider myself an animal rights extremist, I do hold firm the belief that animals should not be used for entertainment purposes. What is done to elephants and other non-human circus performers in the name of good family fun is truly unconscionable. There is nothing natural or fun about wrapping ropes around a young elephant calf (who has probably been forcibly removed from his mother) and forcing him to the ground. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I hope other parents will consider rejecting the circus as a form of family entertainment. Your kids would probably enjoy a day at the park just as much. And as a bonus, you wouldn't have to buy any overpriced souvenirs.


Sam said…
Agreed! I will never, ever take my child to the circus. (Except for Cirque du Soleil!)

But you think that W.P. article was bad? Years ago I went to a circus in Moscow. I'm not sure who was treated worse--the animals or the women. Ugh!
Beth said…
I'll join your circus boycott! I know that Mommy will prefer the park, too.
Lisa said…
I have never and WILL NEVER take my kids to a circus. i would cry the entire time for the poor animals.
Steph K said…
Two Thumbs Up, Claudia!
Anonymous said…
How about the animals in zoo? They are not in their element.
Rachel said…
Read the article and did a lot more looking into the issue and I have to agree with you. All creatures deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and that definitely is not.
Just Lisa said…
I don't dig on the circus, either. As the anonymous poster suggested, what do you think of zoos? We go, because Allie loves them, but I think the animals always seem sad and lethargic. Thoughts?
Alabaster Mom said…
RE: The zoo. I struggle with this one a lot. I think zoos have certainly gotten better over the last few decades. Some attempt has been made, at most zoos, to approximate a natural habitat for the various species.

Since we've done such a bang-up job of pushing so many species to the brink of extinction, zoos are needed for conservation and preservation.

So, while I don't *love* zoos, I don't think they're the root of all evil.

Now, roadside zoos are a different story. I wouldn't go to one of those if you paid me. Bad, bad news.
Jen said…
This is a tough issue. I go to zoos several times a year and lets face it, entertainment is probably 99% of the reason we go. I wonder if I'm any better viewing a flamingo in New England than someone viewing an Elephant in a tent.

Man has assigned themselves such dominion over animals. I question our right to make ANY decisions for them. I own cats, I own a fish. I neutered the cats taking away their born biological right to reproduce. I know that in today's times, it's for the greater good but I still question my right to make these decisions for other creatures. Fundamentally is it any better that I keep a fish in a 1 gallon tank that would do better in a pond in Japan? I have actually wondered if that is abusive to the fish, honestly.

Tough line between intervention and interferance. I don't know the answer and I pass no judgement on circus goers because I don't know if I truly am any better. Very tough questions. The simple answers aren't really so simple if we think about it.

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