Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Elephants Not In the Room

The Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus has decided to phase out the elephants in its shows, taking them out by 2018.  I'm very upset about this.  The circus should do it now!  
Circus elephants have long been a bone (tusk?) of contention with animal rights activists, and understandably so.  Elephants are among the smartest creatures in the animal kingdom - after all, they never forget anything - and they are gentle, graceful giants.  It's cruel to make them do stupid tricks, like pets on David Letterman's old NBC show, and they get prodded and poked all the time.
Also, elephants like to roam around a lot.  The best place to see elephants up close and personal, if you can't make it to Kenya or India, is either in a safari preserve, like at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, or at a zoo that houses animals in re-creations of natural habitats instead of in cages.  Circus elephants don't get to roam; they're forced into crowded box cars on circus trains, and they only get to move freely while they're performing.  The tricks they perform include balancing themselves on their front legs, holding women with their trunks, standing on medicine balls, trying to shell clowns dressed as peanuts - :-D - are ridiculous.  Have your fun at the circus, but leave the elephants out of it.
And retire the lion taming, too.  Not just out of concern for lions, but out of respect for the memory of the great lion tamer Gunther Gebel-Williams.  There'll never be another one like him,. :-)
Now we have to get those whales out of their tanks at SeaWorld.
(By the way, the fight to help elephants in the circus isn't over once the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey elephants are sent to their new home at the Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida.  Not only are there other circuses with their own performing elephants, but the Center for Elephant Conservation allegedly mistreats the gentle giants.  If you think this latest development is a final victory for animal rights, then you prove right what one of the guys in Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey's name once said about suckers being born every minute.)                 

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