I We need to teach our children that there is no justification for the captivity and mistreatment of any living being, whether it be for entertainment or any other purpose that we might conjure up. We first have to learn it for ourselves. We need to open our eyes and hearts and make this connection. We are all connected and we need to realize that what happens to one species affects all of us.
“Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling
what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge
that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace
and joy finally for you too.”
– Frederick Buechner
Imagine what it would be like for both the mother and its young offspring to have that baby ripped away after only a brief time together and to have it raised in captivity apart from the nurture of its family. To have that sentient being forced to live in cramped environments and be subjected to all kinds of extreme weather conditions. What would it be like for them to be trained, beaten, and prodded to act out and perform for the benefit of humans, young and old? If this was being done with humans in captivity, I am sure that people would be outraged and the practice would cease to exist.
But really, what does it matter what species we are talking about, human or otherwise? In fact it still is a reality in most of the world that we as humans continue to use animals for our benefit and entertainment, not only denying them their freedom, but also forcing them to live a life that we would wish on no human. One of the ways that we can begin to consciously change this is to not allow circuses to use animals any longer. It is high time that we begin to evolve and realize that this should never have been acceptable and it is time for it to end.
A number of countries have already banned the use of animals in circuses. Bolivia was the first to do so and has since been joined by Peru, Greece, Cyprus, Paraguay, Columbia, The Netherlands, and Slovenia. Movements are in place in many other countries right now to follow suit. This is a positive sign and it can only be our hope that people will first get educated on what is really happening and see why entire countries are responding to this situation the way that they are. There are so many compelling reasons to do so. We have seen the undercover footage and pictures of the abuse that these animals suffer at the hands of humans.
So many people can remember being brought to a circus as a young child and to have that experience of seeing magnificent animals like bears, tigers, lions, horses, and elephants up close. We also watch these animals perform tricks and routines and it is as if we are led to believe that somehow these animals are enjoying this life–that they must somehow enjoy being held in captivity and living on the road and being made to perform. Regrettably, this is simply an illusion. They enjoy it no more than you or I would. These animals do not volunteer to do this. They are forced to live in captivity and the perform and obey orders out of fear and the pain of retribution by their trainers and handlers.
I am sure most people who attend the circus do so to expose a child to something that we feel must be a part of their list of lifetime memories. We perhaps do it to somehow connect with some memories of our own. Yet if we are aware that there is a darker side to the circus, and that this in fact is the reality of what is happening, what are we really teaching our children and what are we consciously allowing to happen ourselves? I am sure that if most children knew what was really happening behind the scenes they would be upset and would want to know how they could help the animals instead. These circuses continue to exist because people pay money to come see them. We need to just stop buying the tickets and encourage others to do so as well. Some may think that the circus needs to have animals perform for it to be viable, but this is simply not true. The countries that have banned animals in circuses still have the presence of the circus, but instead they focus on the performance of humans, whom I am sure are being treated far better than the animals. All you have to do is go to any Cirque du Soleil show and realize that you don’t need to have animals performing to be thoroughly entertained.
We need to teach our children that there is no justification for the captivity and mistreatment of any living being, whether it be for entertainment or any other purpose that we might conjure up. We first have to learn it for ourselves. We need to open our eyes and hearts and make this connection. We are all connected and we need to realize that what happens to one species affects all of us. It is also why so many of us find it unacceptable to see animals as commodities…birthed and grown to be tormented, abused, and eventually slaughtered for food or other uses. It does not matter if some of these practices have been going for centuries. There have been plenty of things that have gone on throughout history that we no longer partake in. The use of animals in circuses has always been wrong and it is still wrong today. We need to see why the people in other countries have responded the way that they have and make the right and compassionate decision as well to end this practice. This is what needs to happen for the animals and for humans as well. It is time. For more information on what is happening with the ongoing fight to free the animals, you can follow organizations like Animal Defenders International at www.ad-international.org. You can find information on how you can peacefully protest and educate others from wonderful groups like Circus Protest at www.circusprotest.com. Circus Protest now has an office here in Las Vegas. Let’s begin to do the right thing for the animals, for the children, and for ourselves.
Paul Graham was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in
Las Vegas since 2004. He is a top wedding officiate, a green Realtor and
writer. He has a daily vegan food blog,
Vegan in Vegas which is 365 days and 365 vegan meals in Las Vegas.Paul’s
e-book, Eating Vegan in Vegas: If It Can Happen Here, It Can Happen
Anywhere is now available at www.sullivanstpress.com.
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