No one was happier than me when the Sault Ste Marie City council banned circus acts which included wild animals from performing in this city roughly two years ago.
It’s been over 30 years since I was last at a circus, and that is the last time I will ever be at one.
I took my very young daughter to the show, thinking at the time that she would be delighted to see wild animals and acrobats .
But as I sat there and the show started I began to realize just how horrific circuses really are.
When it was showtime six cages containing tigers were brought into the ring. When it was their turn to perform , the door at the end of each cage was opened so that the tigers could come out and get into the ring. I noticed that as each cat left their small enclosure, they had a bowel movement…all of them. The reason for this was clear. Being held in such small cages and the cat’s refusal to lie in their own waste, they defecated as soon as they were free of the cage.
The tigers jumped up onto their stools that were placed around the ring, and then a burning ring of fire was held up in the air for them to jump through. As the ring master cracked the whip, each tiger would jump through that flaming ring to the other side. The crowd applauded as though this was some great feat. I realized how stressful this “show” was for the tigers.
Animals fear fire, yet these tigers were more afraid of their handlers than they were of that fire. What must they have gone through in order to obey a command that they would never attempt on their own?
Circus animals are treated so harshly in order to get them to do everything that goes against their nature. They are forced to do things that they would never consider in the wild. What elephant would ever balance on a ball, walk on its hind legs, or dance ? The pain these animals endure just so that someone can make a buck by making them do tricks is horrible. Whippings, hitting, cutting and mental abuse are all part of the training ritual.
Humans exploit animals in so many ways and think nothing of it. Whales and dolphins are kept in captivity for our amusement, never mind what that confinement is doing to the spirit and bodies of these animals.
Bears in Europe have chains put through their noses which are then pulled on in order to make them dance for tourists. It is all so much torture.
When will we wake up and realize that these animals have feelings and that what humans are doing to them is just plain wrong. If you want your children to know about wildlife the best thing you can do is to watch documentaries about these animals with them, showing them in their natural habitats and watching how they hunt and live. Taking your children to see animals in a circus or a zoo or at Sea World is not teaching your children anything real about animals.
We exploit animals in so many ways and it is always for human entertainment and of course for money.
Next week I am going to talk about the many ways we use animals that you may have not even thought about.
In the meantime if you are interested you should watch the movie “Blackfish” which is available online. It’s the story of a whale that finally snaps from being kept in captivity. These magnificent animals should not be treated as though they are on this earth to provide us with entertainment.
We are all God’s creatures and we all deserve respect.