07 Mar 2015

Goodbye to Circus Elephants!

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This circus came to my hometown when I was a small boy.

John Katz mourns the victory of the Animal Rights fanatics and stupidity.

Ringling Brothers announced yesterday that are, after decades of legal wrangling and assaults from animal rights organizations, they are ending a tradition that is hundreds of years old, succumbing to pressure and phasing out their elephants over the next three years. It may be that I will never see an elephant again, and it is certain that millions of kids will never get the chance.

The drama of the elephants echoes that of the carriage horses. Both show us the ignorance more and more people have about the real lives of animals as more and more disappear from our world. The circus and the carriage trade have faced long expensive and cruel campaigns from people who claim to be speaking for the rights of animals, but who have just killed more elephants than have ever died at the hands of circuses. They will do the same to the carriage horses, given a chance.

There are many people cheering the decision of Ringling Bros. to phase out it’s domesticated Asian elephants, (generally, the African elephants have not been domesticated) claiming the decision is long overdue. It is the ultimate Pyrrhic Victory. The elephants are saved. The elephants have been condemned to die. …

[This] decision means the circus elephants are doomed and will soon disappear from our world. Another animal species we emotionalized, another group of humans abused and mistreated, more animals we could not thoughtfully and loving protect from extinction at the hands of people who claim to be saving them.

Like so many other animals that have lived and worked with people – carriage horses, ponies in farmers markets, horses in Hollywood – the elephants will vanish from our world and will not return. Like horses, elephants have worked well with people all over the world. They are intelligent, social, trainable, valuable. People love them, and the magic they emote.

What exactly, is the agenda of the people who say they are for animal rights? What kind of liberation movement offers animals one right: to disappear and die.

If you think it is hard for 300 big draft horses to find good homes, consider the future of the circus elephants. Outside of a handful of preserves, there is no place for Asian elephants in our greedy and over-developed world, poachers and developers, the true abusers of elephants, are slaughtering them en masse. Most, if not all of these elephants will die as a result of this campaign. Who will have the money or will to protect them and keep them alive? They aren’t safe anywhere in Asia, their home habitat? What kind of future will the animal rights organizations provide for them?

Ringling Bros. said it is becoming too difficult to deal with all of the local communities whose politicians have been pressured by animal rights activists and showered with money to restrict the use of animals in circuses, a new specialty for local governments who can’t fund their own schools, or balance their budgets. Circuses – and elephants – have been cherished for thousands of years, what of the people who love them and have always loved them? …

The plight of the elephants echoes the peril of the New York Carriage Horses. Organizations that claim to be deciding the future of animals lie about them, are ignorant of their needs and nature, invent evidence, bribe people to swear falsely, then drive them out of our world and celebrate their end.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Lauren R. Gianni.


Like John Katz, I have memories of the circus coming to the small town I lived in as a boy in the 1950s. We were excused school and got to stand and watch the parade of brightly decorated circus wagons and exotic animals pass down West Centre Street.

They erected the big top just west of town on a flat field covering the old Koh-i-noor Colliery. As it happened, I lived in the middle of the westernmost block of Lloyd Street, a short walk from the show. Naturally, I went right out there to see them setting up, and as I stood admiring the animals being unloaded, a big, muscular animal trainer approached me, and asked if I’d like to help.

I was offered the privilege of taking buckets over to one of my neighbor’s backyards, filling them with water, and returning with them to water the elephants.

You can imagine my delight at getting to hobnob with live elephants, to see them drink, to touch their trunks, scratch their heads, exchange civilities and generally interact with those enormous and exotic animals at arms length. I was in seventh heaven.

To top it off, after a good long time, the trainer returned, smiled and thanked me, and presented me a handful of free passes to the circus as payment. I was utterly flabbergasted. I would have hastily sold everything I owned and borrowed more to pay him to let me near those elephants.

It is sad to think that no American small boys living in the new regime of universal moral enlightenment presided over by the likes of Peter Singer and Wayne Pacelle will ever get to pet an elephant.

3 Feedbacks on "Goodbye to Circus Elephants!"

Hector Poole

Fundamental Change is intruding everywhere.

Jerry the Geek

I remember the circus, with lots of sawdust and big tents set up in a fairgrounds. I toured the various attractions as a boy, and everything looked so bigger than life. So strange, living (as I thought) and exotic, as if the world had come to my home town for an overnight visit to the bucolic “poor relations”.

Years later, the circus had come to the Big Town where I now lived, and instead of tents there were indoor ‘arenas’ with canvas protecting the floors designed for basketball courts where common people were not allowed to tread without special shoes.

But there were elephants!

I brought my children there, toddlers though they were, and thew were allowed to ride the elephants.

I knew they were to young to remember that experience, and I sighed, and worried that I might be too selfish when I wish that I could ride the elephants and they could marvel at the sight. Because, I never rode the elephants.

Now, my grandchildren will never ride the elephants, because there are no more elephants, It is mandated that children and grandchildren will never again experience the wonders of the world appearing nightly in their home town, Tuesday through Thursday at 1pm, 3pm, and 5pm. (And don’t miss the Big Show at 8PM!)

I wonder: if there is an elephant who needs a job, and nobody is allowed to show the world what an Elephant is, does that mean nobody gives a damn for a now-mythical creature?

Or are we all just too damn Politically Correct to share the wonders of the world with The Little People?


It’s never about the welfare of animals. When we domesticate an animal we remove its ability to survive in the wild in exchange for whatever “work” we find for it. And there are many animals with intelligence and love for humans that care for them, that work =reason for living. Tyranny of the minority needs to stop.


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