I always felt uneasy about circuses. Yes, they feature tricks of all kinds that are entertaining for the audience, but at what expense?
The humans who participate in the circus choose to be there, but the animals are taken from their homes and brought to provide more entertainment for the audience. After watching and reading Water for Elephants, I was exposed to the greed and business-driven minds of circus leaders, but I thought it was only part of the fiction.
Yet, when I watched actress Jorja Fox’s video informing the public about the story of a young elephant named Krissy who taken from her African home at the age of two and transferred to circus life, I realized it was more than a tall tale. The video includes footage of Krissy being beaten with a bullhook and kept in chains. I had never seen a bullhook before watching Water For Elephants, but it is a hook attached to a long handle used to strike elephants to train them for shows. Robert Pattinson’s character in the movie is reluctant to use it on his elephant and the ring master must take the bullhook and do it himself.
No animal deserves to be beaten to do tricks for an audience. If the people who continue to keep the circus in business knew the gory details, chances are they would no longer support the fantastical show.
Fox recorded the 90-second PSA on behalf of Animal Defenders International, a group of three organizations that works together to protect animals around the globe. The National Anti-Vivisection Society and the Lord Dowding Fund for Humane Research combine with ADI to save animals everywhere.
Speaking of Water for Elephants, the elephants that were used in both that movie and Zookeeper are now back in the circus according to ADI’s website. Both Tai, the star of Water for Elephants, and Rosie, the elephant from Zookeeper, were subjected to beatings and electric shock treatment during training for their movie roles.
To stop these actions, Fox teamed up with Bob Barker, former television host, Congressman Jim Moran and ADI to pass the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, which would outlaw the use of animals in traveling shows and fairs.
Circuses and fairs would be just as enjoyable, if not more enjoyable, without the harsh treatment of their stars. I would be happier to go to the circus if it was made up of flying acrobats and juggling acts instead of suffering animals.
If you would like to donate to ADI visit their website now. Stop films like Water for Elephants from becoming a reality and the stories of animals like Krissy from coming true. Animals did not sign up for the circus so why should they be there against their will?
Photo credit: Screen capture ADI