Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey: Forget Elephant Parades — No Elephants, Period.
by Anura Guruge
++++ Search ‘elephants’ for LOTS of elephant-related posts. >>>>>>
++++ Search ‘circus’ & ‘cirque’ for the numerous circus posts. >>>>>>
I truly have MIXED feelings about this and I clearly see BOTH sides of the issue. But, in the end, I have to admit, grudgingly and with great sadness, that this is indeed the RIGHT (and probably only) decision that Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey could have made.
The elephant ‘issue’, with all the curbside protesters, was getting out of hand. This is why they stopped the WONDERFUL elephant parades in Manchester. That was the beginning of the end. 2012 was the LAST parade. They started trucking the elephants for SAFETY and you can’t blame them. You don’t want to mess around with elephants and safety.
This saddens me. I know elephants. I grew up in a country with lots of wild and domesticated elephants and I have had interactions with both.
Of ALL of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey animal acts the one that bothers me the LEAST is the elephant acts!
Why? Because in these acts the elephants are basically doing things that they are WILLING to do. Domesticated elephants are really just VERY big puppy dogs. Honest. Up till they are about 3 months they really, really are like puppies. They want to play. They want to be stroked. They want their belly tickled and they will roll over, on their back, just like a puppy — their fat, chubby legs waggling in the air. And they have real stiff bristles on them. Yes, many of the acts they are expected to do are NOT natural. Of course. But we make dogs do tricks too. Growing up, in Ceylon, Colombo Zoo at the time, was FAMOUS for its elephant shows. Harmonica playing elephants. And ACTS that would not be permitted in the U.S. due to various safety standards. Elephants putting their feet on a person who is lying down below them.
Yes, I know that the elephants are disciplined while they learn the tricks. Yes, that makes me sad.
However, some of the OTHER Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey acts are INEXCUSABLE. Check out the feeding the bunny to python act. Their BIG CAT acts are disturbing. I can’t watch them. I close my eyes! Maybe Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey should EMULATE the Big Apple Circus (which alas no longer comes to NH) and BAN all animal acts.