No Circus Animal is Safe: Demand Animal-Free Circuses
From Force Change
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Target: Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
Goal: To phase out animal brutality in circuses and instead employ animal-free entertainment.
The population of the largest of all land animals, elephants, is now confined to decreasing habitats in Africa and Asia. In the wild, they are hunted for their tusks and face the perpetual threat of habitat loss. Sadly, the plight of the elephant worsens outside of its natural environment and inside of the circus tent. Elephants are subjected to cruel training and constant confinement, being held captive and forced to perform stressful acts, with most of the creatures facing whips, sticks, and bull-hooks. These poor animals need to be freed from the stage and given the fighting chance to survive in the wild.
It is no secret that in many circuses, elephants have been reported to be beaten, poked, prodded and jabbed with sharp bull-hooks, many times until blood pours from their leathery skin. Their spirits are broken as mere calves, sometimes with lives destroyed after excruciating fractures occur within their bones and the elephant babes are deemed useless in the show. In just months, many elephants suffer a dramatic decline in health, and without adequate veterinary care, an overwhelming amount of the large mammals succumb to a preventable death. Similar to the fate of their babies, aged elephants that suffer from painful ailments, mostly arthritis, are spared no torture, as they are still forced on their hind legs adding pressure to their joints.
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Not only are these animals in danger, but they also endanger the public. Often times, after elephants engage in erratic behavior- a clear indication of psychological distress- these gentle beasts become aggressive and react wildly. There have been a reported 35 cases within the past decade of elephants rebelling against trainers, attacking the audience, bolting from circuses, and wreaking havoc through towns. People have been killed during these moments of rebellion, and in the end, the bulls are often times shot and killed as well. As a result of having to perform night after exhausting night, it should come as no surprise that an animal would snap. The only answer is to provide elephants their natural environment.
Fortunately, there is a solution. Not all circuses are dangerous to animals. Many animal-free venues exist, complete with trapeze artists, jugglers, clowns, and other various forms of entertainment. With that in mind, it is imperative that elephants and other circus animals are taken out of the boxcar and left to remain in their proper home– the wild.
International Animal-Free Circuses
how would you like to be
and on display
wishing those who
are bothering you
would go away
dreaming of freedom
a safe world outside
as you cower in
of your cage
and sadly, hide
Karen Lyons Kalmenson