Saturday, September 6, 2008

Circus animal question

The Eureka Reporter - Saturday September 6, 2008

Dear Editor,

A friend called to invite me to join in on protesting the circus in McKinleyville last Tuesday. I declined. I’d never been to a circus and I wanted to witness the conditions of the animals first-hand.

Before going in, I spent about 20 minutes watching people walk past the picket line. I saw a lot of sadness among the parents and children. I grew up believing the circus is supposed to be a happy event.

I bought a $16 ticket and went through the gate. First, I saw two camels in a pen. They looked depressed. A man was trying to put a harness on one. It became agitated and was drawing attention. The gatekeeper told him this was being watched. The man was able to get the harness on and a few minutes later the camel calmed down and was eating hay.

I went into the big tent for the show. It was dark with flashing colored lights - a party atmosphere. The children had cheered up. Workers moved down the aisles selling light sticks and cotton candy. The acoustics were bad, adding to the hypnotic effect of watching women acrobats in bikinis and a contortionist putting his body through a tennis racket.

I went out in the sun, visiting the burro pen. I spent about five minutes watching the burro repetitively rocking itself against a strap holding up the tent. Lastly, I visited the hippopotamus pen. No human-hippopotamus contact was possible. A lone hippo lay face-down in a pile of hay.

As I was leaving, a little boy, probably sugared up, was having a meltdown. His mother gave him the choice of going back in the tent or home. And if they go home, he’s not going to get to watch any videos because they paid a lot of money to come to the circus.

I think the central disagreement between circus-goers and protestors is around the question: “Are animals here for human entertainment or do they have a right to live their lives in their native habitats?” Everyone will have to answer this question for themselves.

Douglas Tabler

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I protested. It's horrible that greedy people abuse animals for profit.

Watch the video at (the link is in the middle of the page.)

They get away with this abuse because people choose to look the other way and not get involved. It's criminal and we must put a stop this cruelty.

"The greatness of a nation and it's moral progress can be measured by the way it treats it's animals." -Gandhi