The Cruelest Circus On Earth
Senseless Abuse of Elephants
A few years back, PETA exposed the horrific abuse elephants endure at the hands of Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus. Unfortunately, not much has changed since their investigation.
In 2009, several animal rights groups sued the circus and the case went to trial. The trial did not last very long. Despite footage of abuse and even a former trainer who testified against the circus, the case was dismissed.
How could imprisoning and torturing animals for the sake of entertainment be allowed under a court's ruling? Who are we to snatch animals from their habitat and abuse them? Have people become so desensitized that animal torture can be allowed in a so-called civilized society? Furthermore, asian elephants are endangered species and under law, are to be protected.
Regarding the case, the attorney for Ringling Brothers called the activist groups that sued the circus 'radicals' and went on to say that society does not share their beliefs. So according to this attorney, most people are okay with elephants being held captive and being beaten in order to perform silly tricks. The attorney also added that if it were not for circuses and zoos, most people will never see an elephant except in pictures.
If more people understood what goes on behind the scenes at circuses like Ringling Brothers, I doubt many people would continue to take their families to the circus. I also doubt that a person's life will be altered if he or she were never to see an elephant face to face.
Elephants in the Wild
Elephants are intelligent animals, perhaps even more so than the dolphin. Elephants live to be about 70 years old. They are the largest mammal and have very few, if any, natural enemies. They eat a vegetarian diet and are very peaceful animals.
There are two types of elephants, asian elephants and african elephants. There are slight physical differences between the two. The elephants used in circuses are female asian elephants.
Elephants live in herds made up entirely of family members; grandmothers, mothers, aunts and calves of both sexes. Their herd is matriarchal and the leader is usually the oldest and most respected female of the group. Males leave the group when they become mature. Male elephants usually live in solitary, although sometimes males will come together to form a small herd. Males leave the group in order to prevent inbreeding which could cause complications to a newborn calf.
The calves in the family are raised by all of the adult females, not just the mother. When the herd becomes to crowded, some members will leave on their own to form new groups. The herd is close and like with humans, some elephants are more popular while others are shy and less social. When an elephant dies, the entire herd will go into moruning.
How Circuses Train Elephants
Circuses begin training elephants as babies. They are snatched from their mothers and trainers use bull hooks to train them. Bull hooks are two to three foot long cords. At one end there is a sharp steel hook and a poker. The bull hook is used to strike the animal in order to injure and scare them into performing.
When elephants are not performing, they are chained. They are chained securely for twenty hours at a time. They cannot move, turn or lie down.
A footage, which was too disturbing that I decided not to add it, shows a baby elephant being whipped repeatedly while the mother is chained nearby and unable to help her baby. The screams from the baby were so intense that it was unbearable to watch.
WARNING: Disturbing Images
Animal Free Circuses
This list is from Born Free's webpage. They update their page frequently, so please feel free to check out the link I provided below for more information.
Las Vegas, NV
Cirque du Soleil
Montreal, QC Canada
Cloud Seeding Circus
Mexican International Circus
Edmonton, AB T5W 3H8
Neil Goldberg’s Cirque
Variety Arts Management
The New Pickle Circus
San Francisco, CA
Born Free's Website:
How You Can Help
You can start by banning circuses that use animals. There are many circuses that do not use animals at all. Let friends and family members know what goes on at circuses that use animals. You can forward articles like this one and you tube videos in order to help educate people about animal abuse.
Ringling Brothers claims that they do not harm their animals. They believe - or claim to believe - that their methods are humane and that most people do not see anything wrong with beating elephants and keeping them chained for twenty hours a day. If they truly believe that, then they must be delusional or in deep denial. When people stop buying tickets, they will be forced to stop using animals.
Knowledge is power and when people know the truth, only then will there be change.
- Animal Abuse: Their Unheard Cry for Help
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