When one thinks of such an event as the circus, the images that most often come to mind include pink cotton candy, exhilarating acts enacted by tight rope walkers and experienced acrobats as well as the humorous tricks performed by exotic animals.
One never thinks twice when they cheer and clap as a tiger leaps through a ring of fire or an elephant balances on its front legs.
No, one never thinks twice.
Sadly, what goes on behind the scenes of a circus is incredibly different than what appears before a viewing audience. What one doesn’t see is the amount of neglect and abuse that these magnificent animals have to endure. After all, one doesn’t normally ponder over what exactly it took to get these animals to ride a bicycle or balance on a ball.
Elephants, for example, are taken from their mothers at birth and forced through a practice known as “breaking spirit.” It is through this lengthy process that elephants are stripped of their natural sense of being and made submissive to humans with the use of bull hooks, whips and electric prods. This type of treatment is not reserved solely for elephants but used on the majority of circus animals in order to get them to act according to the routines of the circus.
Instead of the open plains of Africa and the company of their own kind in the wild, these beautiful creatures are kept in cramped enclosures and forced to perform around unnatural elements.
In this, lies the crux. As fellow inhabitants on this splendid planet, we must fully appreciate and protect the diversity found on Earth.