It's time to ban circuses from using exotic animals

Just to be clear, this bill does not ban circuses. Nor will TEAPA ban domesticated animals from the circus. Is it too obvious to point out that dancing poodles are much more easily trained, and less dangerous, than elephants and Bengal tigers? Forget, for a moment, the heinous violence apparently required to get a wild animal to perform tricks. Think about the elephant that, in its natural habitat, is a creature in constant motion, that can walk up to 15 miles a day. Then take that animal, confine it to the back of an overheated truck, make it ride America’s interstate system up to 50 weeks out of the year, with a few brief moments of chaos, lights and applause, and then force it to spend the remaining 58% to 98% of its life in chains.

One report from Animal Defenders International, which has conducted undercover surveillance of circus animal abuse and which is coordinating the grass-roots campaign behind TEAPA, said that elephants and other animals have been found confined to their transports up to 19 hours for journeys of 5 1/2 hours or less. We cannot be too surprised, then, when we hear about an elephant going on a mad rampage and killing its trainer, or worse, when it results in the death of an innocent bystander or a child, a tragedy that has occurred on numerous occasions…

If you’re like me, you find the spectacle of animals at a circus not only disturbing but weirdly embarrassing. It has to do with knowing that the only reason these animals have suffered is in order to learn, let’s admit it, a fairly lame set of tricks, especially when what we are truly eager to see are the acrobats and trapeze artists. The paid entertainers. Which goes to the business about lost jobs.