going to the circus and seeing tigers jump through flaming
hoops? How about elephants balancing on one foot?
Stop for a moment and consider what incites an animal to
do something unnatural, even dangerous, such as jumping through
flames? Animal trainers would like for the public to believe
that animals are coaxed into such behaviors with the promise of
rewards. The truth is that animals perform because they fear
No matter what the circus folks tell
us, there is no way to persuade an elephant to "dance"
or a tiger to leap through hoops without some threat of
punishment or violence. Big-cat
trainers carry whips; elephant handlers use bull hooks - a
sharp, hooked metal tool used to poke and jab sensitive spots.
Primatologist Dr. Roger S. Fouts calls the circus tradition in
training the "two-by-four technique".
In other words, the animal is beaten into submission.
Dominance, subservience, and pain are integral parts of the
circus is no fun for animals and it is not
proper "entertainment" for children. Our
children are being desensitized; we are teaching our children
that cruelty for the sake of entertainment is acceptable.
we are striving for a more compassionate society, this cannot be
the type of suffering and pain we want to inflict on any living
being. It is our responsibility as adults, to teach respect and
compassion to all Godís creatures.
children spend a large amount of their waking hours in school.
In addition to academics, we want our children to learn
responsibility and respect for everyone. What kind of a message
is a school giving when they include going to the circus as a
field trip? Do we
really want to teach our children that exploiting living beings
Circus animals may be fed regularly.
They may even have a veterinarian to look after them.
But this doesnít make life easy for them. They are
caged and shackled and forced to work when the boss says so.
They never have even a taste of freedom, but go from cage to
circus ring to cage. They
travel thousands of miles during the performing season, which
means long hours in boxcars or tractor-trailers with no room to
stretch, let alone run.
Dick Gregory, a noted civil rights activist, stated it well,
when he said, "When I look at animals held captive by
circuses, I think of slavery.
Animals in circuses represent the domination and
oppression we have fought against for so long. They wear the
same chains and shackles."
and humans suffer and die alike.
Violence causes the same pain, the same spilling of
blood, the same stench of death, the same arrogant, cruel and
brutal taking of life. We need to find ways to curb
violence on all levels.
There are many wonderful circuses that do not have animals for example,
the Cirque du Soleil, who performed at Liberty State Park
"Anyone who has
accustomed himself to regard the life of any living creature as
worthless is in danger of arriving also at the idea of worthless
human lives." - Albert Schweitzer