Sunday, September 14, 2008

Dancing Elephants, Leaping Tigers


A traveling circus was brought to the new hospital site on East Hill Road, with part of the profits going to the building fund. I'll admit, I was a little surprised to see the advertising posters include exotic animals as part of the entertainment. I thought that kind of circus was a thing of the past. I much prefer to see the human acrobatics type of shows. I simply didn't attend this one on that basis. But various activists wrote letters to the newspapers and community blogs with their concerns, and these two folks indicated their support of non-animal circuses by displaying signs to people arriving to the evening's show.

18 comments:

Ming the Merciless said...

Like you, I don't think exotic animals belong in circuses. I don't mind the clowns and acrobats, or even horses and dogs. But I draw the line when tigers and elephants are involved.

As for your question, I left an answer in my blog.

Laurie said...

I'm like you -- I didn't know those types of circuses existed anymore. I remember riding on the back of an elephant at a circus once and feeling sad for the creature who was listless and dragging. Elephants are NOT supposed to be listless and dragging.

Sara N said...

I went to such circuse in KL Malesia.I did not enjoy at all!

Rose said...

That is awful...
Unfortunately, if they still have animals in there is because the public is still interested.
This sort of thing will only end when people stop paying to see shows with the animals...

Hilda said...

Were the protesters able to discourage others from going? Until people don't go to these types of circuses, I doubt if they'll ever stop. I hate seeing big animals in tiny cages.

Bibi said...

I agree with Ming. Horses and dogs, okay.

Kym said...

The same circus (according to radio ads) came to the north county. We had quite a few activists speak out against it but a lot of people went also.

Benjamin Madison said...

Self-righteous vegetarian reporting in here: I'd rather see a chicken in a circus than in a pot pie. Are exotic animals more sensitive than domestic animals? Why is a zebra in a circus more offensive than a cow in a feedlot?

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

Did you ever read Geek Love by Catherine Dunn? Circus's remind me of that book. The last "come and go circus" I saw had this poor snake in a aquarium that was filthy with the snakes urine. Very disturbing (as is that book).
Come visit my comment to you. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll hate me (just kidding).

Petrea said...

Even horses and dogs in these shows bother me. But I understand the distinction: at least they're domesticated animals.

Yeah, I thought these shows were a thing of the past. I remember the circus coming to town when I was a kid. It was scary and magical. "Something Wicked This Way Comes" (Bradbury) picks up the scent of it, touches on that wild, odd, wrong feeling of it. Like a ghost show blowing through town then disappearing into the hills. It was a thing of the past even then.

Knoxville Girl said...

Add "sighing human" to your title. Performing circus animals make my heart ache, can't watch.

Kris said...

I must admit that I feel very much the same way. We’re lucky that here in Australia, there are no shortage of open plains zoos with pretty solid records on animal preservation so we can take the littlies to see some exotic animals (somewhat) guilt free!

Ming the Merciless said...

HA! That guy looks like me 15 years and 50 lbs ago. :-)

Love The Sartorialist.

USelaine said...

Thank you for all your comments on this controversial topic. While any animal can be abused, I think domesticated species experience far less stress in their daily interactions with people because of centuries of breeding for that purpose. I read somewhere that the white color breaks in the coats of domestic animals is associated with the "docility" gene somehow. I don't think it means pinto horses are tamer than solid brown ones, but that they are all genetic carriers of that expression of the gene. Or something like that.

Every year, the Mendocino County Fair includes sheep dog trials, and they were held today. I've seen them before, and they bring tears to my eyes. I'm not sure exactly what it is that gets me, but I think it has to do with the complete sympathy and cooperation the dog has with his fairly distant master, and the intelligent precision he uses to bring his assigned sheep through a few obstacles and into the pen. Which brings us to the sheep.

It's a complicated relationship we have evolved to have with animals. I don't eat meat every day, but I do eat meat. I'm lucky that I can often get beef and lamb that was raised right here in Little Lake Valley. I say lucky, because I can see the conditions they are raised in, and it means they haven't been shipped to the concentration camps called feedlots. I hope they are killed quickly, with as little fear and suffering as possible. Dina recently described some ancient Jewish teachings about the treatment of animals in her Jerusalem Hills blog. Other rules of kosher eating are built around compassion for animals as well.

Taken to its full extent, we must kill to live, because even plants are alive. Every living thing (I think) requires the sacrifice of other living things in order to live, at the very least to make soil. It is a Big Mystery to me as to why I even have to kill a plant. Why is there death? I wonder if I'll ever come to terms with it.

And so, I make one choice at a time. I didn't go to the circus.

USelaine said...

Oh, and I should explain - I posted a link to a picture from the blog The Sartorialist into the comments of Ming's blog, asking if the picture was of him at Bryant Park. 8^) I guess not.

Ernie Branscomb said...

While I agree that animals in the circus are probably not as happy as they could be, what are the alternatives? Sent them back to the wild? I don’t think that circuses are gaining any new animals, I think they are just letting them live out their lives. (I hope)

P.S. my wife, and a lot of Southern Humboldt women were at the sheep dog trials and the crafts fair today. They had a great time. They said that the dogs are really smart.

USelaine said...

I almost made the trip today Bernie, but I was getting too much done at home, with my air conditioning on, and I didn't want to lose my momentum. So I didn't head out to Boonville after all. It's a fantastic country fair every year, and I love the woolgrowers demonstrations too.

Z said...

I'm with you on this! I don't know what the story is on circuses in Switzerland, though it does seem that the ad posters show only humans beings. I can only hope they don't involve unhappy animals.