Dear Confined Animals,
I have only been to the circus once in my life when it visited our little town in Ontario, Canada. I thought it might be fun for the boys to see a real-life circus, with acrobats, trained elephants, the pretty costumed-lady with feather plumes on her head, riding a beautiful horse. We saw all of that and more. Yet, I did not enjoy the circus. I cannot pinpoint exactly why I did not like the circus, it was just a feeling, an emptiness of sorts — even a sadness. Was I sensing your sadness?
Photos of that circus experience are somewhere in my piles of albums waiting to be scanned and digitized, meanwhile, I will share with you photos from our 1981 visit to Marineland, an entertainment park with performing animals. We were especially excited to see the whales and dolphins do their tricks. I did not consider how unnatural, and actually cruel these shows truly were to you, the captured, incarcerated, spectacular creatures of this earth who were forced to perform for mankind’s naive pleasure.
Through our ignorance, we thrilled at how talented you were. You could jump through hoops, swim in unison while allowing a trainer to ride your backs, jump high bars and synchronize swim “as well as” human synchronized swim teams. Yes, we were mesmerized by your talents, totally oblivious of your intelligence and higher capabilities used daily in your natural environments — functions which are more outstanding and useful than any stilted tasks we demanded of you.
I am sorry for the whips and devices used to break your spirits.
I am sorry for mankind’s need to abuse for the sake of enjoyment.
I am pleased to tell you that one of the largest and longest surviving circuses, Ringling Brothers, will no longer be exploiting elephants in their shows. It is a small start, but it is a start to stop this practice of animal abuse for enjoyment.
I hope that all circuses stop all animal shows, and are limited to acrobats and performers providing entertainment at their own choosing — an opportunity never offered to you.
I also wish that Zoos become extinct — replaced with wildlife sanctuaries, where injured species are healed and returned to their natural environments, if able.
I wish you freedom to live and die as nature intended, without man’s interference, which is another unfortunate discussion, for another time. Mankind has polluted the oceans, your homes, poached body parts for foolish medicinal beliefs and hunted for “sport.”
Someday, you magnificent creatures may exist as nature intended. Someday, you will only be captured on film, shot in photography, visited through responsibly produced documentaries. Someday, mankind may evolve into appreciative stewards of the earth and its creatures. Someday, you may be freed from mankind’s stupidity. This is my hope.
In response to The Daily Post – Circus