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.