We Don't Have to Condone Animal Abuse in Entertainment
Ringling Brothers circus closed, final show on May 21, 2017
Yes, it's true. This is huge news for animal activists!
On January 14, 2017 Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, announced the closing of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The news was announced on the company website, citing declining ticket sales — which dipped even lower as the company retired its touring elephants.
"This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company," Feld says.
Ringling has been phasing out elephants as a result of shifting public tastes and criticism from animal rights groups over the well-being of the animals.
The company held its last show featuring elephants in May (2016), before completely retiring the animals to its 200-acre conservation center in Polk City, Fla., established by Feld Entertainment in 1995.
Elephants had been a circus mainstay almost as long as the circus itself has been a staple of American entertainment, since Phineas Taylor Barnum introduced Jumbo, an Asian elephant in 1882.
But before the traveling exhibition evolved into a regular destination for wholesome family fun, Barnum "made a traveling spectacle of animals and human oddities popular, while the five Ringling brothers performed juggling acts and skits from their home base in Wisconsin," reports the AP. "Eventually, they merged and the modern circus was born. The sprawling troupes traveled around America by train, wowing audiences with the sheer scale of entertainment and exotic animals."
For Ashley Byrne, associate director of campaigns for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the circus' final show "can't come soon enough."
"It is long overdue for this very cruel company to end their days," Byrne told NBC News.
PETA has long been an outspoken critic of Ringling's use of elephants — and it still protesting the circus' use of other animals, including big cats, horses, kangaroos and small farm animals.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus gave its final performance on May 21, 2017.
Read more about Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation https://www.ringlingelephantcenter.com/about-cec/
Like the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ringlingelephantcenter/timeline
'Fantastic progress' in 2016 but animals in Irish circuses 'continue to suffer'
2016 has been hailed as a year of victory for campaigners trying to put an end to the use of animals in Irish circuses.
Though the Department of Agriculture has been clear that it has no intention of introducing legislation prohibiting the use of animal acts, a number of councils across the country this year backed bans on animal circuses on public land.
Orca shows and breeding banned in California
SeaWorld San Diego pledged to stop breeding orcas and conducting theatrical shows. Now it’s the law.
The media against rodeos
Calgary Stampede: Torturing cows and horses is wrong, outdated and illegal http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/calgary-stampede-torturing-cows-and-horses-is-wrong-outdated-and-illegal/article30788704/
Rodeo Animals Aren't Performing, They're Suffering http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/peter-fricker/rodeo-animal-suffering-photos_b_10822138.html
Canadian Cities Should Say No To Hosting Rodeos http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/peter-fricker/canadian-cities-rodeos_b_9913758.html
The end of Thailand’s Tiger Temple
May 31, 2016
Wildlife officials in Thailand have seized some of the more than 100 tigers held at a Buddhist temple in response to allegations of mistreatment of the animals.
Six tigers were tranquilized and removed Monday from Wat Pa Luangta Maha Bua Yannasampanno, which is known as “Tiger Temple,” according to animal-welfare advocates. The temple is a popular tourist spot in Kanchanaburi province, where visitors are allowed to play with tigers and cubs and even take selfies with them. Government officials plan to clear the temple of all tigers, and will spend the next week removing the remaining 131 animals. The tigers will be transported to government sanctuaries elsewhere in the country.
For years, former temple workers and animal-welfare groups have alleged that the tigers have been abused—beaten, fed poorly, and housed in small concrete cages with limited time outside. Some conservationists say the monks have illegally bred and trafficked the animals. Temple officials have denied the allegations.
SeaWorld's orcas will be last generation at parks
The killer whales currently in SeaWorld's care will be the last generation of the mammals enclosed at the water parks, according to a company announcement posted on its website.
"Why the big news? SeaWorld has been listening and we're changing. Society is changing and we're changing with it," the company said. "SeaWorld is finding new ways to continue to deliver on our purpose to inspire all our guest(s) to take action to protect wild animals and wild places."
In a letter to the Los Angeles Times, Joel Manby, SeaWorld's president and CEO, called the situation a "paradox."
"Customers visit our marine parks, in part, to watch orcas," he said. "But a growing number of people don't think orcas belong in human care."
He announced that the company is partnering with the Humane Society of the United States to advocate for ocean wildlife protection.
The company says the end of the controversial breeding program is just one of changes it is hailing as "historic."
It will also introduce new "natural orca encounters" instead of the old theatrical shows.
In Cecil's honor
July 31, 2015
US Senators Introduce 'CECIL' Act After Outcry Over Killed African Lion
New bill aims to prevent Cecil's hunter from importing his trophy
Four Democratic senators announced Friday that they will introduce a bill named for the beloved Zimbabwean lion Cecil, who was killed by an American trophy hunter earlier this month.
The Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large (CECIL) Animal Trophies Act would extend current U.S. import and export restrictions on animal trophies to include species that have been proposed for listing as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Current law provides protection only for species whose status on the list has been finalized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and it can take over a year for the agency to complete an assessment.
Democrats Bob Menendez (N.J.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Ben Cardin (Md.) are co-sponsoring the legislation. Click here to read the full text of the bill.
“Cecil’s death was a preventable tragedy that highlights the need to extend the protections of the Endangered Species Act," Menendez said in a statement on Friday. "When we have enough concern about the future of a species to propose it for listing, we should not be killing it for sport." In a similar statement, Blumenthal called the hunting of endangered species "a reprehensible and repugnant act."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has already proposed adding the African lion to the list of species covered by the Endangered Species Act, but the agency has yet to finalize the designation. The CECIL Act would ensure that species under consideration for protection are automatically covered by the tightest import restrictions on sport hunted trophies.
In the case of Cecil, this would mean that the Minnesota dentist who shot and killed the lion, identified as Walter Palmer, would need a special permit directly from the U.S. secretary of the interior in order to import a trophy of Cecil from Zimbabwe to the United States.
According to news reports, Palmer left Cecil's carcass in the Zimbabwean bush, taking with him only the animal's skin and head, ostensibly to have them mounted into a replica trophy for display.
The death of the 13 year-old African lion has sparked global outrage, and prompted a request by the government of Zimbabwe to have Walter Palmer extradited to the country to face potential poaching charges.
On Friday morning, U.S. authorities said they were in contact with Palmer, who faces questioning over the circumstances of Cecil's death. The lion was reportedly lured outside of its protected habitat for Palmer to shoot with a bow. The hunter and his guides then stalked the injured animal for nearly two days, before finally shooting it with a gun.
Other legislation has also been introduced in response to Cecil's killing. In New Jersey, lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban the import of endangered or threatened species through any of the three regional airports managed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey -- Newark Liberty, Kennedy and LaGuardia airports.
Animals have a long history of servitude under humans. They've been our food, our clothing, our transportation, our subjects for experiments, our helpers, our companions, our entertainment. Without animals civilized societies would not exist.
I focus on the exploitation of animals solely for entertainment purposes. This includes family-oriented rodeos and animal circuses. Ancient blood sports — bullfighting, dog fighting, cockfighting and the most vicious of all, bear baiting — are still common in some parts of the world. People may risk their own safety and lives for the thrill of the moment, but this is unnatural for animals, they do not volunteer for any of this treatment. No matter what people might gain from these events, the senseless cruelty breaks my heart.
We don't hear much about the animals that are abused in movie making. The Canadian documentary "Cruel Camera" gives a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes. I suspect there is a lot more we don't know about.
Sadly I also have to add Thailand's Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi on the offenders list. "The Temple's popularity is based around claims that its tigers were rescued from poachers and live and move freely and peacefully amongst the temple's monks, who are actively engaged in conservation work," says CEO Dr Barbara Maas. "But this utopian facade hides a sinister reality of unbridled violence towards the Temples captive tigers and illegal trafficking of tigers between Thailand and Laos."
As for marine parks, we may not consider tiny aquariums crammed with aquatic animals for public viewing a form of cruelty. We don't stop to think that these creatures are placed in a living environment that is not natural or beneficial to them. It is all done for our pleasure and gain.
Perhaps it is the persistent belief that humans are superior to animals that makes us assume the right to exploit them. This is flawed logic. It makes more sense that a status of superiority is achieved when we treat animals respectfully. True, animals think differently from us, they do not get their thrills the same way we do. But they do not deserve to be abused because they are different from us.
In the news
January 2011: China Bans Animal Circus
September 2011: Bullfighting in Barcelona to end with Catalonia ban
August 2012: Marineland animals suffering, former staffers say
June 2016: The problem with zoos
January 2017: Marineland charged with 6 new counts of animal cruelty
In our day and age the moral argument that human life has greater intrinsic value than animal life is a cop-out excuse. The fact is we have become lazy toward our responsibilities. A Vancouver Sun article said, "Our moral failing allows cruelty to be casually entrenched. We have, at least, the obligation to face our role in determining the way animals are treated in an honest fashion and consider the standards we expect. Our wilful blindness also make it easy for government to avoid its responsibility."
Kudos to animal welfare groups like the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals , World Society for the Protection of Animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,League Against Cruel Sports for their accomplishments. It seems the most effective way of protecting animals is pressure from these organizations to change the laws.
The Internet has allowed information to spread faster and wider than ever. Which has spawned the popularity and power of online petitions. The Atlantic City Steel Pier diving horse show was planned to return for the summer of 2012 but met with heated outrage from the public and The Humane Society of the United States. As a result the idea was quickly scrapped.
Former staff complaints to the media of animal suffering at the park resulted in the largest protest against Marineland held on August 18, 2012. And the publicity is continuing to grow.
Forcing wild animals in captivity to perform for public amusement and taking our children to these events is essentially promoting animal abuse.
The time has passed when commerce outranks nature. Nothing is more important than nature. The planet is at a critical point where we cannot afford to turn a blind eye. The endangerment and extinction of living species have a domino effect on other species that depend on them -- especially on humans. All our efforts should be focused on conservation.
So let's keep up the good work. Continue to promote awareness. And take a stand. Because if we don't speak out for the animals, who will.
What you can do: Boycott these activities. It's as simple as that. Vote with your dollar. Without your patronage they cannot survive.
What you should not do: Inflicting threats or harm on the people involved is a bad idea. Hostility is not an effective solution.