The other day my friend Catherine from Rare Tee Clothing (seriously check out her site y’all, she has adorable tees!) asked me if I wanted to attend a protest of Ringling Bros Circus with her in downtown LA. I have never attended a protest before and honestly the first thing that popped into my head was an image of a screaming mob getting tear gassed and arrested (my brain tends to circle around the worst scenarios first) – so needless to say I was hesitant. Catherine assured me they were normally peaceful so I sucked up my fears and decided to go.
I knew using animals for entertainment was wrong and I had heard the stories of circus elephants going on rampages due to mental exhaustion and stress but I didn’t know everything they did to these poor majestic creatures in order to “train” them. Here are just a few examples of the torture inflicted upon circus animals:
- nursing baby elephants are ripped from their mothers to break their spirits
- ropes, chains, electric prods & bullhooks are used to force them into unnatural and painful positions to perform “tricks”
- arthritis, foot injuries and other medical ailments are ignored ultimately causing the animals to be euthanized when they can no longer perform
- they travel long hours trapped in tiny, flithy boxcars in extreme temperatures, forced to stand or lay in their own waste
This treatment is ridiculous, heartbreaking and unnecessary. There are a plethora of circuses that don’t use animals at all and are still highly entertaining such as Cirque du Soleil, Bindlestiff Family Circus & Earth Circus just to name a few. Better yet – take your kids to the beach, or a hike, or an animal sanctuary where they can learn how to be kind to animals. There is no excuse to support this type of abuse. Think of the outrage you felt when finding out about Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring. This is no different, it is the cruel exploitation of a living, breathing, feeling being for no other reason than human entertainment.
The protest turned out to be pretty interesting. A lot of parents with their young children walked past us and I noticed a funny thing: the parents would actively ignore our signs, but the kids seemed to really take them in. You could see a look of comprehension cross their little faces. “Why are those baby elephants being hurt?” Maybe it was too much for them to understand now, but I hope part of it will stick with them until they can piece it together. It seems so many people just don’t know or want to know what goes on behind the scenes but we have to educate and bring awareness to the masses. Catherine had a great story from a past protest she went to where someone stopped and asked her if that is what actually happened to the animals and when she replied yes they ripped up their ticket, grabbed a sign and joined the protest. That, to me, is what it’s all about.
For more info on why you shouldn’t support animal circuses, check out Born Free USA