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Circus' At Risk of Losing Exotic Animals!

Discussion in 'The Clown Café' started by yeehaw, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. V

    V Well-Known Member

    Question. How is this different than what animal rights groups are trying to do? Certainly high profile groups like PETA have an agenda, but there are plenty of people who have valid concerns and expertise on the subject who have provided evidence that abuse isn't uncommon.

    Every major circus company that uses animals has fines by the USDA at some point in time. Most, if not all, have multiple violations. Fines do nothing as they pull in enough money to still clear a hefty profit after fines are paid. Ultimately, something must be done. Is this particular bill the best option? Maybe not, but I feel that it's better than what we currently have.

    The problem with this argument, and it's a common one, is that it's just a feeling. They must love animals, so they wouldn't abuse them. Then why are there so many verifiable instances of abuse out there? Not just in elephants, but all the way down to domestic animals as well. I think this argument is a way to deflect blame and guilt by many. I like seeing elephants in the circus > I don't support animal abuse = Circuses don't abuse animals so it's okay for me to support them.
    But animals in the wild still average a longer life span than their captive counterparts in general. They also don't usually develop the neurotic behavior that captives do (rocking back and forth, being housed alone, being cramped, etc). No doubt life in the wild can be brutal, but so can life in captivity. Do you think humans in prison would generally rather be free? They still exist in prison, are fed, are relatively safe. But their lives are obviously different. Apply that to animals now. Say 2 animals (species doesn't matter) one is kept in a cage or small enclosure for most of it's life, then other is free to roam and hunt, even be hunted, but for the most part lives a free and healthy life. Neither contract disease or injury but both die at the same moment. Who would you say had the better life?

    You're correct, we don't know so we apply our own beliefs. The problem is that we don't become stewards, but rather claim ownership.

    We were also taught the world is flat, AIDS came from humans mating with apes, and that frogs cause warts.

    I worked in the education field for a long time and elementary teachers aren't exactly the most qualified people to make calls like this. Today, they only require a Bachelor's degree and not until High School level education do they require a specialty field. That means someone teaching science could be weak in science. Many, if not most Elementary ed. teachers have Liberal Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies, Humanities type degrees which doesn't exactly make them scholars.

    I left the teaching field, and my children will never attend public schools because of the quality of education in America today. In secondary schools, and later at the collegiate level I was amazed at how little kids really know by the time they leave school. NCLB did alot of this, but it's always been a problem to one degree or another (thus why education reform was attempted)

    To address the claim that elephant skin is tough and not sensitive, this has been proven many times over to be untrue. Elephants can feel insects, rashes, sunburns, etc. I posted a resource to this in the "Question" thread.

    While certain animals have a high pain tolerance it isn't universal. I think again, that this helps with guilt disassociation. Many hunters and anglers adopt the opinion that animals are physiologically dissimilar to us, are not conscious and so do not experience ‘suffering’ akin to human pain. The scientific evidence, however, shows that animals have the hard wiring to perceive and react to sensory pain and injury, and at least some of the brain structures that process pain in humans.

    Even if we adopt the theory that animals feel pain differently than humans and something humans will never be able to experience or describe completely, how is that reason enough to consider it less important ethically or biologically?

    Similar positions were taken by whites in regards to black slaves not that long ago. We as humans have proven one element to be fact more consistently than any other - that we are ignorant of the needs of the other inhabitants of our planet, or too selfish to ultimately be concerned with it.
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  2. V

    V Well-Known Member

    Earthlings is a documentary on the issue of animal exploitation in it's entirety. There is a segment on the circus about an hour into the film, but I would hope that people watch the film in whole.

    The movie does have some graphic imagery, but I would challenge all of those who bother to watch it to make an attempt to finish it. Even if you need to walk away from the film for a while and continue in a few settings.

    Obviously and forthcoming, the film has an agenda. What doesn't these days? The bulk of the film, however, is genuine documentation. If you take the time to watch it, let us know here...
  3. msraven

    msraven New Member

    If the law is passed, what will be done with the animals? I find it funny how people complain about animals being in captivity and really if you stop and think just for a tiny second...... Is it really beneficial to the animal to be taking away from the only life it knows? To be placed in some strange area where they may or may not be happy, they could become depressed or even become violent from fear. So remove the circus animals and place them in another form of captivity....makes no sense to me.
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  4. Plywood

    Plywood New Member

    I would imagine they'd have to find sanctuaries for them. They wouldn't know how to survive in the wild, not to mention the cost of shipping some of those animals overseas. Some of them could move to zoos, I suppose. They would also have to be careful about not letting the animals breed if they don't want to perpetuate animals in captivity.
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  5. V

    V Well-Known Member

    By this logic then abused children shouldn't be removed from their homes and placed in foster homes or with adoptive parents who can potentially and probably improve their standards of living.

    Of course it's better to remove a being from a harmful situation and place it where it will be out of harms way.

    Or... remove the animal and place it in one of many respected conservatories? Where it can receive the care it needs with others of its kind in an environment that is healthy.

    Except the fact that this isn't some whimsical fancy like getting a puppy for Christmas, but rather a studied endeavor. There are many respected and more importantly, capable organizations that are well versed in the proper care of animals (that doesn't include doing handstands or jumping through flaming hoops).

    Like say, I don't know... The circus? I don't recall the circus being an organic environment where creatures great and small can roam freely. The fact of the matter is that anywhere the animals go will be alien (including their current homes) to them. There are, as with everything, varying levels of ethical treatment in each of them. Nobody is suggesting the release of captive-bred elephants into the wild, and again, there are conservation and care efforts with respected track records who are capable of giving the necessary care should they be given the opportunity.

    The USDA has seized circus elephants in the past, other zoos and/or circuses have relinquished ownership of elephants to conservatories - it isn't uncharted territory.

    Lets hope not. Zoos aren't much better than circuses (for the most part). Knoxville's zoo is terrible. The National Zoo doesn't have the necessary room for the elephants it has, much less more. The North Carolina Zoo boasts of having a new enclosure for elephants that measure a whopping seven acres... The problem is they house seven elephants; and as far as zoos go, the nczoo is relatively modern and at least attempting to make strides towards conservation efforts.

    In comparison, the elephant sanctuary has fourteen elephants on nearly three thousand acres. They could potentially hold 100 +/- elephants in their land mass.

    Money is the root of this entire debacle, and whereas circuses and zoos are profit driven institutions that cater to the desires of the paying customer. Most respected conservatories are closed to the public, while still being transparent to inspectors, media, etc. You'll not take a Sunday drive to the sanctuary in Tennessee and expect to elephant watch with the family. You can however, explore their website for information and maybe even make a donation to support their efforts. (which reminds me to add the link to my signature here and across the web)

    From their website:

    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  6. Zeeppo

    Zeeppo New Member

    First and foremost the Circus is a bussines. And the circus can find people to be roustabout and clowns. They can pay them less than they deserve and have them live in less than perfect conditions. There are people willing to do this so they do not have to have better pay or accomidations.

    Will a steel mill pump carbon into the air if no one regulates them of course. Will the steel mill tell the people of the town that blocking out the sun is healthy? They took out full page article saying that very thing here in Pittsburgh a hundred years ago. A circus will claim to love animals and claim to be helping animals in the wild if it gets people off their backs. That is the nature of the thing.

    The circus is not a warm and fuzzy place run by hippies and animal lovers. It does need to be regulated. If they loose thier animals they will come up with another way to make a buck.

    The Federal Government doesn't usually force an industry to pay for a new law unless it is a continued threat like an oil spill, leaking toxic waste dump or warning labels on cigarettes. And if the Federal Government does force them to give up animals the tapayer will have to pay for their care.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
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  7. The Princess of Bozonia

    The Princess of Bozonia Administrator Staff Member

    Oh, you won't get (much) argument from me about the value of animal rights groups. As I said in the post you quoted, I do believe they've done society a useful service. I'm all for reducing suffering (both animal and human) wherever we can. But I couldn't support an animal rights group that takes a position so extreme as to be illogical (such as that animals are better off dead than in cages, or that it's ok to harm human beings in an effort to help animals).

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2011
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  8. V

    V Well-Known Member

    Extreme animal rights group certainly have some issues. I've mentioned in earlier threads that some of their methods are questionable. Extreme cases (ALF) where homes are burned or people injured or killed don't fall within the realms of the reasonable and obviously don't so a lot about bringing justice to anyone. However, at their core (at one point in time) their beliefs were likely genuine and valid. This doesn't mean it's okay to go burn down the home of a slaughter house owner, but simply that at one point in time, I imagine they came together to try and do something positive and it got out of hand somewhere. Peta, while not as physically dangerous as say, an ALF extremist also has some views I don't agree with, mainly along the lines of the ones you mentioned in the extreme (killing instead of captivity, etc.)

    I think we agree in essence, but just have different default positions on the issue as a whole.

    You see this is career criminal humans sometimes as well. It's a sad situation and one that should be mourned rather than used as a model. No doubt that incarceration can screw with the mind. I just don't know that we should keep using the same methods simply because we have precedent.

    On a case by case reference this is correct. You will have the occasional animal live as long as it's natural counterpart; or a captive animal will live longer than it's free cousin who falls to the food chain. As a whole though, the numbers lean heavily to those outside of captivity. Elephants alone are losing roughly 25% of newborn calves these days (as of my last known data).

    Maybe, and there's no way of knowing exact numbers. It it however, widespread enough that some sort of changes need to be made. Evidence is out there from low rent family circuses all the way to Ringling. It just seems that in every case one circus says to the rest, "you all should take better care of your animals" to the public, when their record isn't much better than the others. A major issue here is one Tim and I commented on earlier, is that some sort of fix needs to be put in place, but because of the extreme views of each side, it looks as if one extreme or the other needs to happen since a common ground isn't likely.

    If that's the case, and no medium is reached then we have to assume that some abuse will always occur. With that assumption I'd rather all animals be taken away to prevent all abuse, rather than allow all animals to stay and allow some abuse.

    My list of examples in the "Question" thread (the last entry) is just what someone did. Dissect an elephant. I really don't know if a nerve end data is included in the report as a whole (or even if it was capable at the time of that research). I don't know that a numeric of nerve endings will ever be published, but think that there is ample data to show that elephants are sensitive to pain in one form or another.
  9. StuartPid

    StuartPid Administrator/Pickles' Lady in Waiting

    All I can speak on is my own personal experience on this subject. The majority of animal rights people I have met are complete and utter wack jobs. Don't stand and scream in my face about animal rights and cruelty wearing your leather shoes and jacket... Ringling animals are well cared for, far better than the performers I can guarantee you that. Each town they go to the animals are inspected for signs of abuse and mistreatment as well as disease and sickness. PETA has an open invitation to come along on these inspections and video the results but they never show up because it would prove they are full of shit. What people don't see in a lot of the videos is the PETA protestors throwing things at the animals to spook them and cause them to act out in a manor that requires the trainers to have to try and control them back to calm. There is a reason that the police are not far from our escort routes to remove animal rights people who would go so far as to attempt to put these very same animals they are trying to "save" in dangerous situations. I would encourage you all to do a little research about the industrial walkin coolers at the PETA headquarters in Virginia... Or search for their known ties to domestic terrorism... Or read about why their last case against Ringling was dismissed... Someone asked earlier what would happen to these animals if this law were passed, I guess we set them out into the wild were they will be poached and killed or starved when their natural habitat is leveled to build a mall parking lot. At least in the circus they are well fed and well cared for. Without animals there is no Ringling Bros. and Ringling knows this. Why would you abuse or endanger your biggest asset? I am an animal lover and would not associate myself with an organization that abused animals.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
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  10. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    I will agree that it is awful expensive to maintain an exotic animal population. But wouldn't this reality likely offer incentive to the circuses to ensure their investment is well taken care of? If an animal has to be pulled out of performance because of illness or injury resulting from mistreatment, it certainly isn't going to do anything but seriously cost the owner a whole lot of cash. Any owner who would actuate or tolerate such circumstances would certainly be quite short sighted.

    But have not the sanctuaries also had issues and difficulties, including elephant acclimation to these different environments, adjustment in attempts at handling practices, and even deaths to animals and trainers?

    Even if one is to accept that the circus or zoos are an inferior environment, how can we be certain that the alternative is necessarily unriddled with its own set of serious challenges which may also be problematic and not ultimately in the best interest of animals - all the more so if they are sometimes sheltering themselves from public scrutiny (let alone the kind of exposure to allegedly "hidden" cameras around circuses which have caused consternation)? Sure it's easy enough to bring the media in and let them see what you want them to or offer your own talking points for the press. But we know well that circuses, also, can do THAT!

    It just seems that, far from the place of peace which some seem to attribute to such centers; that they may have more of a purpose akin to nursing homes - where the abandoned kin are frequently sent off to be offered some modicum of attendance (that isn't always necessarily in their best interest and can be an easy outlet for ill or lack of appropriate treatment of its own) while basically being sent off to get forgotten by family and eventually die. But, that's ok because, "Grandma is in heaven, now!"
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  11. V

    V Well-Known Member

    I don't dispute that PETA has become an institution that has more than animal welfare as it's only agenda. I've repeatedly agreed with people, even on this forum, that PETA is an extremist group and has it's share of crazies. Pen & Teller did a BS episode on them that was worth watching.

    I've no reason to doubt this and even if I concede that all the animals on your past tour were well taken care, there is evidence the suggests that all the animals aren't living an ideal life. I'll assume you're not suggesting that 100% of documented abuse is bogus. I'll even give you the benefit of the doubt for the sake of argument that a majority of animals aren't exposed to the extreme cases of abuse that make their way on the web. That still doesn't offer up a solution for hours of chaining, standing on unnaturally hard surfaces, and all the other situations that verifiably are preventable, but cause harm when allowed to continue.
    The court case was dismissed essentially because witnesses are not allowed to receive monetary compensation for testimony and it was shown that Tom Rider was getting financial benefits from traveling around telling his version of the story, which in the eyes of the court equated to paid testimony. However, the case was heard and that happened during the time for decision making. During the trial proper, unpaid experts from various organizations (not affiliated with PETA) offered up compelling testimony. Ringling representatives themselves testified on some points of contention (ankus use for example) and admitted what they were being accused of. The difference on those points are what individuals determine constitute abuse (i.e. a bullhook is needed to get an elephant to perform a task. - Question not whether a bullhook is needed, rather that why the task is needed and you'll likely eliminate the ankus itself).

    The trial was dismissed because of PETA's backhanded dealings with Rider. That's a loss for PETA, not a declaration of innocence.

    I don't think this has come up as a real solution by anyone outside of an extremist. There is plenty of dialogue all ready on sanctuaries and the like to rehash, but a "let them loose to be killed" argument has made it's way in this thread twice now and it feels dramatic and graspy both times.

    I don't know that I can agree with "well cared for." I wouldn't be as active or vocal on the matter as I am if I believed it. I'd probably even buy a ticket to a show. Even if I'm willing to agree that the animals on your tour were ok, I'm also willing to acknowledge evidence that supports a claim that it isn't universally the fact.

    These people bother me as well but I don't think they are anywhere close to a majority. In a heated exchange with irrational discussions this is fair as each side becomes overly dramatic and tosses out extreme examples.

    I'll save this post another quote block by addressing the PETA paint brush. As I've mentioned a few times now, I have zero affiliation with PETA, ALF, whatever. I'm not even a card carrying member of my local humane society because humane societies are notorious for creating drama and getting off on their own agendas. I do however, find that on occasion my points of view align with causes PETA may be crusading for. PETA, if nothing else, is good at media coverage and exposure and sometimes that is all that's needed to help a cause.

    If this were about the right to carry firearms I'd use the resources of the NRA (of which I'm also not a member of), but it's about the proper and decent care of animals and PETA is the named recognized brand. Because PETA may have more than it's fair share of lunatics doesn't make the case of documented abuse an invalid point. Two wrongs don't make a right and all...

    PETA is an easy target, and one I'm often critical of. But painting everyone who has the welfare of animals in mind with the same brush doesn't make them part of the same organization with the same methodology. I know of non-animal rights group individuals who've gone a long way in getting certain rules and regulations passed in regards to animals, none of which are domestic-terrorists or who take part in the wholesale destruction of pets that were candidates for adoption. Animal rights doesn't equate to PETA membership.

    Finally, I'd like to thank you (Stuart) for posting in this thread and sharing your experiences. I realize this thread is probably one of your least favorites on the forum, and hope you understand this isn't an attack on all things circus. I've mentioned in other threads that I'm happy for Christopher for chasing, and catching his circus dream. I'd like to see Knute get his call as well. I've no doubt of your ability as a clown and pride at being a Ringling alumni. My point of contention here is relatively narrow and I hope this isn't viewed as anything contrary to that.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  12. Zeeppo

    Zeeppo New Member

    The issue isn't if PETA are whack jobs they are. At one point in their history they ran kennels and kill excess animals. This is documented. PETA is not who you should be following if you care about animals.

    Ringling is not who you should hold up to deffend performing animals. They have been fined over $20,000 for violations against the Animal Welfare Act in the last 10 years. This is just one Federal law not counting all the local laws they have been fined under.

    In 2009 the CEO of Ringling admitted before Congress that they beat elephants with shapened sticks and hooks. Granted he admitted this after three former employees also testified to it. Just because they had one case dismissed against them does not mean they are great to their animals.

    There are several circuses that have spotless records. Since the Animal Welfare act was passed in the Sixties Cole Brothers has not have a single fine. It can be done, Big Birtha is just not one of the ones that is doing it.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  13. V

    V Well-Known Member

    I don't think long term goals are of importance either though. Excluding Ringling's breeding efforts at it's conservatory, let's assume that a circus can acquire an elephant for around $10,000 (the only data I have on hand is from 1998, Myanmar study) that estimated that elephant calves were being bought & sold (illegally) for around USD $5000-$7000 and then taught a few basic circus tricks and sold for around USD $8000.) Add in a couple of grand and it's close enough to $10k for argument's sake.

    You get a few years of packed houses and you've more than paid for your elephant. Many (most?) elephants wind up in rescue with some age on them. A 45 year old elephant could have a couple dozen years of circus life, in which case an initial investment seems pretty insignificant.

    Certainly, if an elephant is ill or injured and is taken out of a show every few weeks, the cost may not make sense. But we're assuming that an ill or injured elephant is given time off to heal rather than working through it.

    I understand the point of view, but think there are too many points that must rely upon assumptions to get a point across one way or another.

    Certainly there have been accidents of humans and animals at conservatories. In the mid 90s a handler was killed at the TN sanctuary. If we assume an animal was removed from it's environment and placed in sanctuary, we can go further and assume the animal was abused to need removal. Moving an abused being from one place to another may solve the issue of physical abuse, but there must be lingering effects. Humans who need rehab often require time to acclimate and often encounter difficulty during the process, why should it be any different for animals?
    And there are plenty of these. Riddle's elephant sanctuary doesn't have a great reputation. If, for the sake of argument we agree that Ringling isn't healthy for animals, then what would it say to move them from a circus tent to a Ringling owned conservatory? I won't be naive enough to say all sanctuaries have no secrets, but there are those out there with respected records. The elephant sanctuary in Tennessee holds weekly (or monthly, i can't remember) meetings. Granted that's not much more than an established Q&A but it's something. Their land offers live stream video and is open to inspection. They actively recruit conservationists when funding allows so new faces are frequently entering the establishment. Is it possible something less than perfect happens behind closed door? Sure, there's always a possibility of something sinister when people are involved.

    I don't doubt some operations run in a manner such as this. I've conceded some groups with a conservation tag have less than stellar track records. Assuming all are horrible is akin to assuming all animal rights people are PETA members. It's much like our earlier exchange about how it would be ideal for both sides to reach an agreement that had the animal's best interest at heart. Realizing that isn't likely, I'd take animals out of the circus over animals in the circus if those are my 2 options. Here, I'll take animals given a chance at a respected conservatory over animals continuing in the circus.

    If that comes to be, and we say you're assumption is correct and the animals are basically in the same situation as before suffering abuse and/or neglect, then I guess all of us lefto-pinko commies will go there to be vocal and active and try to make a change for the better. If we believe in their current situation, that there is suffering and injustice, then a change at least offers a chance at a chance. Do I think their lives will be perfect? Unfortunately not? Do I think their lives will be better? I hope so.
  14. V

    V Well-Known Member

    I agree with this for the most part. Your dollar amount is off by quite a bit. Ringling paid $20,000 in the late 1990's for not providing veterinary care to a dying elephant calf and that example if often cited. I won't split hairs over a dollar amount thought. Just a fyi.

    Had you stopped a paragraph earlier, you would have had me. I'm sure there are circuses with spotless records on animal care. They're on my list of animal free circuses.

    I hope I haven't come across as "I hate Ringling Brothers and Ringling alone." Ringling Brothers is the name brand, and one that is used as an example often because of the trial publicity and the fact we have some former Ringling members here, but by no means do I exclude the same devil with a different name.

    As for your claim that Cole Brothers Circus hasn't received a USDA fine, that isn't accurate. This citation is dated July 18, 2010.

    In February 2011, they were fined $150,000 and two elephants were seized and John Pugh pleaded guilty to violating the endangered species act.

    A handler was cited in June 2011.

    John Caudill III pleaded guilty to nearly 20 AWA violations and as late as June of this year was a Cole Brothers employee. Notably he was videotaped by a family in Massachusetts striking an elephant. Witness accounts are rather disturbing, but I've no information of investigations or citations.

    More citations in 2010 (3), 2008 (2), 2007 (7), 2006, 2005, 2004 (4), ... too many to list back as far as 1992.

    They've also failed inspections, have questionable housing methods, and several incidents that have caused injury or death to either humans or animals on the record....
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  15. Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft)

    Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft) Old Bucket Spitter

    Hiya Sean, I am really glad you made a post on this thread, I was hoping you would. You are one of the very few people I know that has ever worked with elephants. When you wrote this, a few months ago, I was really impressed.

    You painted a wonderful image of what that was like to work in such close proximity to these beasts and I am totally envious of you for having had that experience and was (and am still) thankful that you shared it with us. I don’t, and never have believed, for one moment, that any of the people who work with animals in the circus are sadists. I never thought for one second that circus people derive any pleasure, what so ever, from abusing animals. I expect most of them are exactly just like you Sean, decent, kind and gentle people who love and care for the animals and love their jobs and are thankful for the fortunes that brought them into close proximity with these wonderful animals.

    Until recently, I would have loved to have shared the same experiences you have had. But that was before I really thought that much about what having those experiences actually mean for the elephants and other wild beasts. I went to the circus as a little boy and was entranced by the sights, sounds, smells and spectacle of it all. It made an impression on me, that has lasted my whole life. But now having actually considered the issues around this, I am absolutely sure that keeping wild animal acts are wrong and I would not want my own children or successive generations to experience the same pleasure, I had.

    Every aspect of my thoughts and feelings on this issue are riddled with hypocrisy. I can resolve most of it to my own personal satisfaction but it sounds ludicrous when I try to explain it to others. I make distinctions between food animals, companion animals, working animals and performing animals and I make distinctions between animals within those groups and it all gets a bit messy, inconsistent and contradictory. For instance, I eat meat and have no problem with eating lamb and fish but I wouldn‘t eat whale or cat. Whales are endangerd so that I understand but the aversion to cat is cultural and I have absolutely no idea why. My mouth has teeth designed to rip meat, which proves I am meant to have meat in my diet. But I also know my body produces enzymes specifically developed for the sole purpose of digesting the hard shell of insects, yet I prefer not to use those enzymes. At the same time, I expect I would be comfortable eating meats that most of you Americans would draw a line at. English dogs go “Woof”. German dogs go “Bow Wow”. Korean dogs go “Sizzle”. I wear leather shoes and jackets and think fur is obscene. I suppose it’s much easier to tell a lady she is disgusting than a Hells Angel. I don’t mind some animals being worked for example dogs sniffing for drugs and explosives but have problems with others such as dolphins marking mines, despite it being essentially the same kind of work.

    But regardless of my muddled and hypocritical thoughts and feelings on how we treat animals. I am convinced we should not be keeping wild animals in circuses to perform for us. Even if they did not receive all the beatings and punishments, I still would not want to see them there. To me, the cruellest aspect of their captivity is the captivity itself and no amount of loving pats and apple slice nibbles can make up for the life that has been robbed.
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  16. Zeeppo

    Zeeppo New Member

    That is sad

    That is sad. I knew one of their folks once upon and they seamed to be doing fine back in the day.

    It would appear the only way to have animals in the circus is to have fewer of them and a vet with every troupe.
  17. Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft)

    Barry Daft (Mr. B. Daft) Old Bucket Spitter

    Having fewer animals and a vet with every troupe, is neither here nor there Zeeppo. This conversation is not really about overcrowding. If it were, how would reducing the numbers of elephants help them, when they naturally live in social herds? What this conversation is really talking about is, addressing a fundamental problem with the whole relationship between humans and animals.

    From ancient times, there has been a belief that animals were created solely for mans convenience and can be used without any moral consequence. Our western culture is informed by the Judaeo-Christian tradition that believed humanity is separate from and superior to the natural world. This anthropocentric biased view, continues to cause great suffering for non human species. Elephants are prodded hooked and beaten to train them to contort themselves in bizarre ways, that some humans seem to find amusing. You would never consent to treating a human the way animals are treated and there is absolutely no guilt on this issue.

    How do you think the circus trainer gets an elephant to stand on one leg? What do you think it takes to get a tiger to jump through a flaming hoop? Are you seriously suffering under the delusion that this all revolves around a system of treats and rewards? These creatures are not domesticated through a long breeding process, with the selection of docile specimens the way a dog is. They are wild animals, regardless of whether they were born in captivity or not. Training is a violent, brutal, degrading and cruel process. It is designed to break the spirit of the animal and gain complete control over it. The circuses will never allow us to see the training process used, because they know what the reaction would be. Ringlings and other circuses might have produced many fly on the wall films, describing various aspects of what life on the road in a travelling show is like. But you will never ever see them produce a film that documents their training of animals.

    This is an interesting film narrated by Terry Waite. He can talk about his own experiences in captivity and relate to the isolation and desperation of the animals. It shows clips of amazing animal performances in Chinese circuses along with behind the scenes footage, interspersed by shots of the same species of animals in the wild.

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  18. V

    V Well-Known Member

    In relevant news today... Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus was fined heavily (It's the largest civil penalty against an exhibitor in the AWA's four-decade history.) by the USDA.

    Numerous agencies reporting on the fine. Obviously, Kenneth Feld states they did nothing wrong, but paid the fine as a part of doing business (see plea agreement).

    Who knows if this will accomplish anything save for being a good first step to something more grand, or a sort of precedent ahead of the legislation..
  19. V

    V Well-Known Member

    Surprisingly this morning my Congressman called in response to my correspondence with his office over Jim Moran's bill. Longer conversation that I would have expected (especially considering I didn't expect any face (or ear) time at all) which I'm appreciative of, even if he doesn't support the bill.

    I can't say that I'd vote for him if he doesn't. Since he's all ready opposed to environmental standards and such, but efforts to reach constituents don't hurt; and as a result, I don't know that I wouldn't vote for him if he jumps on board with Moran.

    Benefits of being an independent I suppose (even if I do lean left).
  20. SCOOP

    SCOOP Ace Reporter

    this whole argument makes me mad i don't have stats and statistics or even taken the time to educate myself all i have is my opinion
    and i am not a big fan of the circus however i love horse racing and i like the rodeo
    and if this law interferes with that i will be pissed.
    so yeah i am on the side of the circus for this one cause it wont stop there. the animal rights extremest wont take the win and go home they will fight till you can't own a dog
    or cat
    my mom doesn't use a seeing eye dog but she would hate to have them taken away from those that do!!

    you can go on and on about abuse but all you show is the extreme abuse and a few times someone brought up peta having extremest it was discounted.
    so there is a line as far as animal rights activists goes but for animal trainers there isn't a line. from the way you talk every trainer is abusive end of story but for the animal rights yeah there is some extremest but most are law abiding so why can't it be said about animal trainers.

    i am not saying there isn't some punishment that goes into training but what is acceptable and what isn't. sorry i was raised by a belt and i wish more kids were now a days.
    and the whole thing on performing animals is to show "look at the wild beast see how i conquered it and see what i can make it do i am sure that was the original selling point
    on performing animals. maybe not those words but still.
    end of rant continue with your daily reading.

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