There's nothing smirkus about the animal circus!
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I remember when I was about 5, our neighbors took me to the circus. I don't remember anything about it, other than being very excited. Growing up in rural Vermont, meant there wasn't much going on!
Then when I was about 8, my parents took me to the Big E-which was the biggest fair in our area. Eastern States Fair had buildings to represent Vt, NH, ME, NY, MA, and CT. Kind of like a mini Epcot Center-where instead of countries being represented, it was Eastern states. There I rode an elephant while my two sisters rode the dromedary (a two humped camel).
That was the extent of my hands-on exposure to the exploitation of animals for entertainment by adults in my life.
As a vegan I know I hate the meat and dairy industries, that fact that people still wear fur, leather, or wool....(Ever seen how inhumane the harvesting of the wool is?)....nothing humane about any of these things.
So my hate of the circus was also a given, but until I researched it more, it wasn't as dyer of an issue. So my research was depressing, made me cry, couldn't eat my lunch, and got me very motivated to write about this and show up to the protest organized against the circus coming to Louisville.
So number one this is put on by the Shiner's. They raise money to help kids, but also to pay for this abuse of animals as entertainment. (So keep that in mind when you give to the Shiner's.) Very twisted morals and archaic at best!
So this 'family' circus is how they bill this group. Talk about trying to put a positive spin on something immoral. Apparently, it is currently run by a 5th generation showman. Now I lived on a family dairy farm, and know that the term 'family' doesn't mean jack. Especially for the animals, there is no family about it. I only have 'nice' pictures of my time there. I was involved with the dairy industry for over ten years and I only have a few pictures. That should tell you something.
On the Shiner's site: "The circus travels over 40,000 miles each year in the United States and Canada. The season lasts 42 weeks, during which part of the time the circus has two units on the road. Both of his sons work elephants in the circus. George Carden Circus International offers the finest in family entertainment. They present a beautiful three-ring production which is fascinating to children of all ages! With 50 years producing Carden Entertainment's Shrine Circus, no other circus producer offers the Spectacular Entertainment package that George Carden does."
So they travel 40,000 miles a year! In Louisville they are performing 9 shows. 9 shows! Imagine being in chains/cages unless you are performing those 9 shows every weekend, or being trained as an elephant to stand on your head by literally being beaten or having your paws burned as a bear so you walk only on your hindlegs!
Keep in mind:
"They dictate non-normal behavior of animals, by doing all sorts of abusive things to them like: Animals in the circus are routinely whipped, beaten with long metal rods,
shocked with electric prods, and struck with clubs. Trainers often strike elephants with a bullhook or an ankles on the sensitive areas of their skin such as around their eyes, under their chin, inside their mouth, and behind their knees and ears. A bullhook is also sometimes used to hit animals across the face. Bears have their noses broken and their paws burned to teach them to walk on their hind legs. Carson & Barnes trainers have even been documented using blowtorches on elephants. Circuses easily get away with these cruel practices because no government agency monitors training sessions."
Here's the record of animal abuse that Peta collected of the George Carden International Circus. Now no matter how you feel about Peta....these are official records, they just gathered the historical facts.
So between the physical abuse that makes these animals do non-animal things and impossible feats that end in either success, injury, or death; there is also the sickness that is not addressed. This sickness can be physical, but also emotional. Ever see an animal pacing in a cage, that signals distress and anxiety that can end an animals life. A lot of times, that end of life will be at the hands of humans, that feel this is their only option because they made a non-violent animal turn violent!
I just got done reading a book called Animal Madness by Laurel Braitman. It was heartbreaking, and I needed to put it down a few times and let myself heal before I picked up the book again.
(Joshua Rothman from the New Yorker felt the same way. “Animal Madness is so upsetting, in fact, that I wanted to stop reading it about halfway through.")
It was very insightful as to the emotional abuse that animals go through, and yet it is rarely acknowledged. I really wish I had said that when Tara Bassett interviewed me for her Facebook live post on the protest!)
The section when she was talking about a young gorilla that was purchased for a young boy in England at the turn of the century was heartbreaking. The gorilla, John Daniel, watched his mother get killed, then was shipped to England, and put on display is a store window. He was purchased, and raised as a human child until got too big to handle. A representative that lived in warm Floria purchased him from his human family. He ended up representing the New York Circus, and not from Florida. They isolated him in a cold, gloomy tower during the winter....people would pay to see him and stare at him. He started to deteriorate fast. As soon as his human family found out his condition, they tried to get to him, but he was dead before the boat arrived from England. He's now on display at the Smithsonian, along with many other animals that were attained not from the wild, but from zoos or circuses:( WTF!
It is so disheartening that people still think circuses are okay. WTF are you teaching the your generation. Not compassion, but discrimination!
Isn't that something that we are constantly fighting against!
CIRCUSES THAT DO NOT USE ANIMALS (partial list) • Cirque du Soleil • The New Pickle Family Circus • Bindlestiff Family Circus • Circus Millennia • Circus Smirkus • Cirque Eloize • Circus Oz • Mexican International Circus • Cirque Ingenieux • Earth Circus • Fern Street Circus • Little Russian Circus • Neil Goldberg’s Circus • New Shanghai Circus • Circus Vargas