We won’t be going back the circus.

standard April 2, 2010 4 responses

You know, I’m a smart girl. I’ve been to college. I even have a Masters. No, really. And yet, sometimes when I’m told something that sounds a hair implausible. I like to believe it. Because not believing it means that I have to then turn around and believe something unsavory.

Like baby elephants being raised in captivity and tortured to be made to perform tricks for an adoring crowd.

Of course I’ve always heard the hype about the Ringling Brothers elephants. Duh. Circus = baaad. People have always said that.

But it’s the circus! It’s like a rite of childhood. You have to go to the circus. It’s one of those things that you do.

Except that we won’t be going any more. And I’m more than a little sick to my stomach that I helped promote it.

I’m sorry.

Yesterday Jennie Garth wrote a letter to the organization that arranged for me (and other mom bloggers) to attend the Ringling Brothers circus for review purposes begging them to stop promoting them. Her letter linked to pictures taken at the Ringling Brothers elephant training camp.

Now, as I mentioned, I’m not an idiot. I’ve always known that elephants don’t really stand on their heads just for fun. But I’d never seen pictures before. And I’m going to be honest, I almost didn’t click on the link. Because I didn’t really want to see what I knew I’d see.

Pictures of people smiling as they “train” baby elephants. With lots of ropes. And lots of extremely sharp pointy sticks. And other elephants. Baby elephants chained in cement rooms. Sad baby elephant eyes without a spark of light or life in them.

I don’t care about the context. I don’t care about how the pictures were obtained or even if they tell the full story. I just never again want to support an organization that hires people who can smile as they prod baby elephants with bullwhips.

So I won’t. It’s that simple.

Even if it means forgoing a rite of childhood.

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4 responses

  • I have never gone to the circus, and I grew up unscathed. There are many rites of passage for childhood, we don’t have to hit them all.

    Good choice.

  • i’ve never been to the circus either (ok. aside from cirque du soleil…but that doesn’t involve animals anyway) i never thought of bringing my kids to the circus as a right of passage. so thanks to your post, i don’t think i will take them at all. 🙂

    besides… those clowns scares me.

  • I took my so to the Chinese Circus over a year ago and it was a DISASTER. (The performers are people, not animals, but I’m sure the treatment was not much different.) Here I thought it would be this wonderful, magical childhood memory and he hated it! Started crying as soon as the lights dimmed. So, so much for rites of childhood.

    My time and money would have been better spent

  • Good for you.

    I have been once as a child and left feeling sorry for the animals too. I will never take nor allow my child to go to the circus – if my and your kids end up at the ” My parents deprived me of the circus” support group so be it. Like Ellen said there are so many rites of childhood we’ll just hit a few other ones instead.

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