I went to my first circus at the age of ten. I remember sitting in a crowded red and white tent impatiently waiting for the show to begin. I couldn’t wait to see the acts, but one I was particularly excited for was the elephants. Almost immediately after the show started, the elephants came out into the ring and everyone began applauding. I watched as the trainers got up-close and personal with the elephants. They started the act by guiding the elephants around the ring and proceeded to make them perform tricks (the kind you make your dog do for a treat). At the time I envied that the trainers were allowed to be so close to these wonderful animals, so when my friend’s dad asked if we wanted to ride the elephants after the show, my friends and I all squealed yes. The experience was lacklustre at best. It was very rushed and probably not worth the $10. Some man who could barely speak English picked my friends and I up one-by-one and plopped us onto the elephant’s back. The ride was maybe five minutes and before we knew it, we were back on the ground. I still have the picture of me and my friends sitting on the elephant’s back, we sat in an over-glorified saddle and looked absolutely terrified.
Nine years later, and I am now aware of the cruel environments that these elephants grow up in. The truth is that elephants that are born or raised in the circus are abused physically and mentally.
Elephants that are born in the circus are taken away from their mothers at under the age of two-years-old. This can cause the elephants to become depressed and irritable. Elephants are known for having a very strong bond with their family members. In the wild, daughters will stay with their mother for their entire life and sons say until they are out of adolescence.
When the elephants begin their circus training, they are typically standing for 23 hours a day and aren’t allowed to lie down or turn around in this time. To inforce some of these rules, trainers will use bull hooks, ropes and electric rods. Elephants will also be forced to travel in boxcars for up to 100 hours at a time, year round…This means that the elephants are exposed to all types of weather conditions in which the elephants are not acclimatized for.
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus say by 2018 they will no longer have elephants in any of their shows. Instead, the elephants that they own are being shipped to their conservation center in Florida. At this conservation they are “dedicated to the breeding and understanding of these amazing animals.” The conservation is 200 acres made up of five outside paddocks which consist of “an intricate system of 37 gates and walkways” … Not exactly an elephant’s paradise.
Help stop the abuse by not going the circus when it comes to town and by voicing your concern to the companies.
Every voice counts!
Sign this petition to help retire Nosey the elephant from the circus industry.