Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The LuLac Edition #2868, April 1st, 2015


Our "Write On Wednesday" logo.


Every spring, right after Easter the Circus comes to town. Free lance writer Bob Quarteroni
had some thoughts on the treatment of elephants and a recent decision by a major circus company to cease using the big fellas.
"Because of recent experiments designed with the elephant's perspective in mind, Scientists now have solid evidence that elephants are just as brilliant as they are big: They are adept tool users and cooperative problem solvers; they are highly empathic, comforting one another when upset; and they probably do have a sense of self." Scientific American
"I saw handlers deliver a beating for 30 minutes. She was covered with bloody wounds.I'll never forget her agonizing screams. Please, never take your children to a Ringling Brothers circus." Archele Hundley, former Ringling Bros. circus employee.
It's almost pathetic that we have to celebrate the end of barbarity and torture in this day and age but celebrate -- for this fight is far from over -- we should.
That's because, after 145 years of mistreating animals, Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus will finally stop its elephant act. By 2018 the elephant act will be eliminated. The 13 elephants currently used will be retired and live at the company's 200-acre Center for Elephants Conservation in central Florida, joining the 29 already there.
As animal activists and researches well know, the highly intelligent creatures have close family ties and it was the circus's habit to separate mothers and offspring. As was the practice of using metal bull-hooks hooks in training. As was the habit of chaining and confining them for long periods of time -- in the off season, some were even kept in trucks, and these are animals who roam dozens of miles a day in the wild. We could go on, but suffice it to say the elephants were treated like the scum of the earth, not like the splendid creatures they are.
But as Bob Dylan wrote, you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind was blowing and as the circus’ executive vice president said so disingenuously, "There's been somewhat of a mood shift among our consumers."
Even she acknowledged that so many cities and counties have passed “anti-circus” and anti-elephant” ordinances that it was hurting them in the pocketbook, and that's the one thing they understand. Los Angeles prohibited the use of bull-hooks by handlers last April and Oakland did likewise in December.
So, as one television talking head said, it was "simply a business decision" and not a moral awakening. But it does show that the voices of protest can be effective.
Brave, kind souls protested when the circus appeared at the Kingston Armory every year, putting up with ridicule and spiteful comments. But their protests, and similar protests around the country did result in this positive result.
It's an important step in our nation's progress. As Mahatma Ghandi so famously said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
So our kindness scorecard can be upgraded to a C minus But we must keep the momentum going. We must fight to stop the practice of keeping highly intelligent animals -- like the killer whales and dolphins at SeaWorld -- in captivity for the mere amusement of an audience.
P. T Barnum introduced elephants into his "traveling menagerie" when he bought an Asian elephant named Jumbo to America in 1882.
But even Barnum acknowledged, "We cannot all see alike but we can all do good."
Even if it took "The Greatest Show on Earth" 145 years to discover the truth of that.
Bob Quarteroni, a prolific freelance writer with articles appearing in the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Saturday Evening Post and many other publications, is a former columnist and editor at the Centre Daily Times in State College. He was Director of Public Information at Alfred and Montclair State universities and Senior Writer in Information Services at the University of Florida. He lives in Swoyersville, Pa.


At 4:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nah, don't buy this crap. The evidence is slim.

In 2015 I think we've been snookered.

At 10:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's an important step in our nation's progress."

But it's ok to tear babies apart.


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