You’ve likely heard of animal abuse at circuses before, but have you ever seen it? It’ s horrifying. Actor Alec Baldwin is calling for the boycott of circuses that contain animal entertainment in a new YouTube video (see below).
In the video, Baldwin explains the cruel training sessions that baby elephants must endure when they are taken to be performance animals. Back in 2009, the NY Daily News first reported the abuse which included “undercover video footage of animal handlers beating elephants with metal-tipped bull hooks just moments before they walked onstage.” The metal bull hooks which are shown in the video are sharp metal hooks that handler hit the elephants with on the most sensitive parts of their body, including their face, head, and ears. The handlers are heard encouraging other handlers to beat and hit the animals repeatedly.
When the animals are not working, you can see the cramped and lonely lives they lead devoid of anything a wild animal (or any animal really) should have. (Although we have seen even this week alone how elephants in the wild can also be tortured for entertainment. Just look at what Donald Trump’s sons proudly did for fun.) In addition to the abuse and isolation, circus elephants suffer long term physical effects of being cooped up in poor conditions. And for what? So kids can see them strut out on the parade grounds for a few minutes?
It’s sick. And it’s also accepted in our society. When the circus comes to town, many parents rush out to get tickets without ever considering the ramifications of what their tickets purchases do, namely support the cruelty of the animals. I have done it before. Back when my kids were younger, I never even considered that my money was going to support the abuse of animals. I just thought it was good time for the kids and that’s what parents do: we try to find fun activities and events to show our children a good time.
We were actually at the Ringling Bros. circus when my daughter, who is a big animal lover said she didn’t feel right about the animals there. She had mentioned it before because she heard about elephants not being treated right and once we were there she felt bad about it. Because I wanted to her to be happy and not sad, I told her I’m sure they were treated well. It was the Ringling Bros. after all, a very reputable organization. I knew when I said it that I wasn’t convinced it was true. And then when we went home, I dug into what actually happened at circuses and I was shocked. We haven’t been to a circus since and I don’t think we ever will be.
This video is hard to watch. Animals should never be abused for entertainment or profit, and I commend Alec Baldwin for bringing it to light again because only through awareness can anything change. I wonder how many parents will consider changing their mind on funding circuses? Watch this video and then tell us if it changes anything for you.
Will you still patron circuses? Do you already boycott circuses to stand up for animals?
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