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Not All Circus Performers Are Willing Participants

Circuses like this week's Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars exploits animals for profit, argues Patch blogger Corey Waters.

West Deptford will host a disturbing display of animal exploitation this week. The Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars features dogs, tigers, and elephants—intelligent beings who perform not because they choose to, but because they are forced to under the command of human trainers wielding whips and other disciplinary weapons.

Among these trainers is Tim Frisco, a notorious elephant abuser whose unmerciful training methods are revealed in this video. Frisco instructs another elephant trainer: "Hurt 'em! [...] Make 'em scream! [...] Sink that hook into 'em. When you hear that screaming, then you know you've got their attention."

Nonhuman animals have an interest in their own lives and an interest in making their own decisions, and we should respect these interests by rejecting and refusing to fund their enslavement for human "entertainment" and profit.

In the wild and in spacious sanctuaries, elephants do not stand on their heads, as Cole elephants are forced to do. Instead, sanctuary elephants choose to walk between 3 and 15 miles per day, while wild elephants choose to walk between 30 and 50 miles per day, a choice Cole elephants are denied while confined in trailers and forced to perform on the circus tour.

Just as we can survive (and thrive) without consuming other animals as food and as clothing, we can survive without forcing other animals to perform for us. Circuses can survive as well.

As the all-human cast of Cirque du Soleil has proven, and as some of the talented human performers of the Cole show have revealed, circuses do not need nonhuman animals to be entertaining.

Now more than ever, people are recognizing the injustice inherent in the enslavement, objectification, and commodification of animals forced to perform against their will.

At least 10 countries, including Paraguay, Austria, and Singapore, have banned the use of wild animals in circuses, with Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Greece banning the use of all nonhuman animals. Several United States cities, from Revere, MA, to Huntington Beach, CA, from Clearwater, FL, to Port Townsend, WA, have also implemented bans.

Please consider boycotting the Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars and any circus that exploits nonhuman animals for financial profit. Please consider patronizing shows and events in which all participants are willing.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

C. Parola August 24, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Agree Corey. People who believe that having elephants (& other wild animals in traveling circuses) is humane need to educate themselves, or use your common sense & just think about things. Think of the size of an elephant & about how and where an elephant would have to be kept during various times of a typical day in a traveling circus. The FACTS are that elephants (& other wild animals) are horribly and cruelly confined in order to be transported about the country to visit various locations for usually a day or two, typically chained by the ankle and forced to stand such that they can move only a step or two in any direction, and kept this way almost every hour of each day. Overnight, and in bad weather,they are kept inside a truck. En route to their next location they're confined in the back of trucks for hours and hours, and stay in those trucks for many more hours while waiting for things to get setup. There also is the extremely well documented, and admitted to, physically abusive training techniques to force them to do the "tricks" for your amusement. Educate yourself & visit any one of countless respected websites, such as those of ADI (Animal Defenders International), www.circuses.com, www.morebeautifulwild.com. Also there is an excellent very detailed extensive publication by Animal Defenders International on the Science of Suffering (re wild animals in traveling circuses) : https://www.ad-international.org/admin/download/SCS_US_rep_FINAL_Jun%2015%2008_LOW%20RES.pdf
eileen crossman August 24, 2012 at 05:53 PM
We protested this circus this week in Rio Grande, Cape May County. The elephants are babies. They were seen being made to give rides to kids outside the tent. People going into the circus jeered at our protest....coming out, we got a lot of thumbs up. We need a state law prohibiting circuses that use wildlife in NJ.
Ted Teodoro August 24, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Circus animals do not wake up in the morning and declare, " Gee, I'd really like to balance on a ball all day today!"
Merry Mitchell August 25, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Citing Tb exposure is a good way to get state legislatures to ban elephant rides. The CDC in Atlanta convinced Georgia to do just that.
Gary B August 27, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Agree Maureen, most people who say they 'love' animals do many horrendous things to other species (Such as eating them and wearing their skin) because for the simple fact; they've never known any different. Here are some links for those wanting to learn more :D http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQCe4qEexjc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es6U00LMmC4 http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6361872964130308142

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