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February 4, 2009

The greatest show on earth

Posted: 02:37 PM ET

NEW YORK–I met my first elephant at the Central Park Zoo, when I was a very little girl and I was smitten. Over the years, I read all about them and went to the circus whenever it came to town. So imagine the thrill when, as an adult, I had the good fortune to see elephants in the wild.

A performer rides an elephant during a live perfomance of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

I have seen them feed. I've seen their burial rituals. I have even been charged by a mother elephant protecting her calf.  Watch the Best Defense segment.

Through it all, here is what I have learned: Elephants are a lot like people. They have emotions of a sort. They remember things like we do. And they are social animals; they like the company of other elephants and of people too. But when all is said and done, they are not people. They are still elephants.

So we need to ask ourselves some hard questions about our relationship with them.

Of course, no animal should be abused. But as we put Ringling Bros. on trial, let's keep in mind that most kids in this country will never see an elephant in the wild. The only real elephants they will ever see will be in the zoo or at a parade - or at the circus. After all, that's where my love of these graceful creatures was born.

If we want our children to learn to love them too, we will need to make our peace with animals in captivity and with those who choose to work with them there.

–Jami Floyd, In Session anchor

Filed under: Uncategorized


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todd   February 4th, 2009 3:24 pm ET

Jamie
R u for REAL ?
Now i am no peta NUT – BUT how can u try to justify hauling elephants around the usa – as well as the world – in BOX cars for 11 mnths a YEAR ? YOu state what about the KIDS – well what are we teaching them ? thats its ok – to teach a 8000 lbs elephant to stand on its head or even another elephant ?
Do u honest think – that elephants are trained with positive reenforcement ? U are so wrong – I worked in a zoo that handled its herd in free contact – and let me tell u – it is a daily dominance thing – and how does a human dominate a 8K lbs animal ? BY beating the living h*LL out of it – until it is scared – this is the only way – and then when they get mad and attack we call it a accident – ! COME ON – it is rage
lastly – I understand not all can see elephants in the wild – however – i would think a trip to a zoo that CHANGED OVER to a modified Protected contact system – where this dominance is not needed – will be far better for both elephant and children –
when u saw them in the wild – where they standing on their heads – or lining up standing on each-other – NO
so how can this be educational for anyone ?


Pam Hennessy   February 4th, 2009 3:26 pm ET

Yes elephants are awesome creatures and are fascinating to observe and learn from. However having seen an elephant chained to a post in the ground, barely able to move, shaking her head back and forth in obvious distress, I am totally against the captivity and restraining used for our "pleasure". It is absolutely animal cruelty and breaks my heart whenever I see an elephant in the circus.


E-Los Angeles   February 4th, 2009 4:04 pm ET

Most people will not be able to see them in their natural habitat, but how about pictures, National Geographic and the like, instead? I too love elephants (now and as a child) and unfortunately have been to the circus, found it troubling and would never go again. Don't really like them in zoos either, they should have lots of room to move-sanctuaries or wild animal parks.
I don't understand why humans always think they are entitled to 'see' something just because we can. I prefer to think the elephants are entitled to live where they are supposed to.


Leslie   February 4th, 2009 4:04 pm ET

I am a very big PETA supporter and I agree that not only Elephants but also every animal that is in either a Circus or a Zoo deserves the right to be treated humanly and not abused or mistreated. How would Ringling Brothers like it if we hit them with a whip or anything ?? And how would they feel being locked up in a box with absolutley no moving space ?? Since when did we live in a society that says its ok to beat animals. If I can't beat or hurt another human then what makes it right to do that to an animal ??


Lois   February 4th, 2009 4:32 pm ET

We were very lucky to see elephants in the zoo and at the circus when we were younger (before we knew better). But we have since learned that these animals are wild, and belong in their natural habitat. Too bad for us humans - but why sacrifice elephants - or any other wild animal - for our enjoyment?

Wild animals do not belong in cages, zoos, circuses. There is nothing natural about it and no one will convince me otherwise.


Jan in Santa Fe   February 4th, 2009 4:34 pm ET

I do not go to circuses, nor would I take my grandchildren to one. My son won't take them either. It is CRUEL and inhumane treatment of these magnificent creatures! HORRIBLE!

Personally, I think all circuses that keep animals meant for the wild in cages for exhibit should be shut down! It is CRUEL!

Would YOU like to live your life chained to a stump? Or in a cage with people staring at you? I DON'T THINK SO!!


Sherri   February 4th, 2009 6:00 pm ET

Many children are fall in love with whales and dinosaurs. Many read and learn more about them every chance they get. And some are even lucky enough to visit whales in the wild. And you know what? Not one humpback whale or tyrannosaurus rex was forced to live in captivity for all those children to be smitten!


Shayleen   February 4th, 2009 6:02 pm ET

I HAVE MANY FOND MEMORIES OF SEEING THE ELEPHANTS AT THE CIRCUS AND AT THE ZOO. WE CARRY HORSES ALL OVER THE PLACE. WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?


Penny   February 4th, 2009 6:35 pm ET

I have always said "I will never set foot in a circus because of how they treat the elephants". An elephant is a beautiful animal that deserves to be in the wild. If you love elephants do not go to circuses. I am glad this case is coming up in the courts, even if they do not win, at least a light has been shined on the treatment of these animals. The best thing we can do is Stop Supporting the Circus and find another way to entertain ourselves.


Gina1   February 4th, 2009 8:26 pm ET

Unmitigated cruelty to have circus animals. We had circus people move into our rural 1950's neighborhood and the training of the dogs was horrible to watch. We saw it up close and personal. They were very exotic people especially when the man, Polidor the Clown, killed his paramour with a hatchet in October of my frehman year of high school.


Rev Simpson   February 4th, 2009 10:31 pm ET

"Tyke" (1974 – August 20, 1994)[1] was a female circus elephant who on August 20, 1994 in Honolulu, Hawaii, killed her trainer, Allen Campbell, and gored her groom Dallas Beckwith causing severe injuries during a Circus International performance before hundreds of horrified spectators at the Neal Blaisdell Center. Tyke then bolted from the arena and ran through downtown streets of Kakaako for more than thirty minutes. Police fired 86 shots at Tyke who eventually collapsed from the wounds and died.

In the aftermath, Tyke became the poster elephant of circus tragedies and a symbol for animal rights. Dozens of lawsuits were filed against the city, the state, the circus and Tyke's owner, John Cuneo Jr. and his Hawthorn Corp. Honolulu trial lawyer William Fenton Sink successfully sued Cuneo on behalf of numerous plaintiffs, including young children, who suffered psychological injuries after witnessing Tyke's killing. The suits were settled out of court and the amounts were never made public. Based on Mr. Sink's work in the Tyke case, Animal Rights Hawaii renamed its prestigious Order of the Innocent award to The William Fenton Sink Award for Defense of Animals in honor of his work.


Kristen   February 4th, 2009 11:13 pm ET

You love elephants so much that you want them to be put through a large amount of pain and suffering so that others will love them too? That's a strange kind of love (and fairly flawed logic).

Taking children to a circus with animals does not teach them love, respect, admiration, or appreciation of these great creatures. It teaches them domination, violence, and cruelty. If we want our children to love elephants, we would be better served to turn on Animal Planet than take them to a circus.


Andy   February 5th, 2009 1:44 am ET

Jami: I'm a big fan of yours, and like other posters no PETA person, but I firmly believe that the time for caging large animals like elephants and lions, etc. These animals need many square miles of land to live in, and no zoo or circus can give them that.


Tracey   February 5th, 2009 7:51 am ET

I am dumbstruck at the level of waste in the courts. Thankfully- I grew up at a time when we were allowed to be children and enjoy things like circuses and zoos. In my opinion, this case should not have even made it this far and is a prime example of the litigious mentality of the US in 2009. What is next? Outlawing pets in the home because they may be traumatized emotionally because they see you in the shower, or heard you curse when you stubbed a toe? I am appaled, let the circus continue – with regular welfare checks on the animals as has been done – and find a worthy cause, say – maybe ending child abuse, or eliminating poverty.


charlene g   February 5th, 2009 8:31 am ET

i love elephants too, seen them at the circus when i was about 6-7 and then afterwards(*about 8 or 9 years of age) got to ride on one at the zoo...i remember everything about the ride, and was awestruck by the giant animal. yes most kids will only get to see them in circus or zoo..but no, no excuse for ANY mistreatment of these awesome giants. ( be it bullhooks, being cooped up in a circus car, ANYTHING) no wonder why a few isolated elephants go crazy and go on rampage. ( when animals attack show/elephant in hawaii, runs beserk thru circus auidence)


Kristen   February 5th, 2009 10:19 am ET

I am currently a college student in Florida who did a 20 minute speech on the circus animal abuse. If people would just look into to detail about what these animals go through they would understand so much as to why the circus is not good. Tigers, Bears and other large cats have their paws burned, so that it is painful for them to use them, allowing for them to sit with the front paws in the air. Elephants are often bullhooked, in which their skin is very sensitive. Yet Ringling still goes on. You should youtube circus animal abuse, you would be amazed as to what you can find. Its sad. Animals were not put on this earth for our entertainment, they were put here for so much more. They are beautiful creations which need respect and protection!


Danielle Smythe   February 5th, 2009 10:26 am ET

". . . After all, that’s where my love of these graceful creatures was born. If we want our children to learn to love them too, we will need to make our peace with animals in captivity and with those who choose to work with them there."

If I understand this statement correctly, you claim to "love" these creatures, but somehow you want us to make peace with the abuse because after all, they are just elephants. What kind of love is that?

I've never seen a whale or a polar bear or a wolf in the wild, yet I still care about what happens to them and their habitats.

Get real. Circuses are money-making entertainment, money made on the backs of the elephants. They don't belong there, standing on their hands and dressed up in ridiculous outfits for our consumption.

This is ridiculous reporting.


Deborah Robinson   February 5th, 2009 10:33 am ET

By your theory, we should add in whales, pandas, all the animals that children won't have a chance to see in the wild and force them, through dominance and pain, to perform in circuses as well! Whatever makes you think that every child in the world is somehow entitled to every experience that exists?

You say: when all is said and done ,they are not people, but elephants. I wonder why that makes a difference to you. Of course they are not people, but they, LIKE people, are sentient beings with the ability to suffer pain and fear. They have an interest in leading their own lives and your suggestion that they somehow have to be "sacrificed" so that children can see them in person is appalling. What children learn from seeing them – stolen from their families in the wild, stripped of anything resembling natural elephant behavior, miserable for the sake of our entertainment – is to think of them as commodities who don't matter except insofar as they can be useful to us. Certainly that is the lesson YOU learned from seeing them in circuses as a child. It is perpetuating that attitude toward these magnificent beasts that has lead to their near extinction. If we teach our children to respect them for who and what they are – to respect their needs AS elephants – then and only then is there a hope that they can be saved, as a species.


Linlaw11   February 5th, 2009 11:18 am ET

Elephants are highly intelligent, beautiful creatures. I personally hate to see them chained and forced to perform. They are so majestic it almost seems embarassing to them and for us to watch them being forced to prance around for our sheer entertainment. Ours, not theirs. The accessories are ludicrous – who has ever seen an elephant in their natural state wear a headress? I mean really, a forced performance is now educational ? Riding in railcars for hours and hours is fair treatment? I don't think I missed out, nor my children. We saw elephants in a safari park being elephants best they can be in North America which is not native to them to begin with – never mind the circus aspect.
I highly recommend a book entitled "Water for Elephants".
Just my .02.


Skip Skipper   February 5th, 2009 11:44 am ET

If you think transporting these animals across the country isn't cruel go into your closet, shut the door and stay there for the next 40 hours. Then do it every couple days for the next 20 years, oh and when you come out have your spouse hit you between the toes with a lead pipe just for extra fun.


Jane Stanley   February 5th, 2009 12:20 pm ET

Children, sadly, will never see a dinosaur either but they sure do love them, and have learned more about them than most people know about elephants. A little research, and start with The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee – they give refuge to the survivors among elephants formerly entertaining in circuses and zoos, into the work of Joyce Poole and Daphne Sheldrick in Africa and Lek Chailert in Thailand at The Elephant Nature Park would provide the base for learning about elephants in their natural states. They are fascinating animals, much like us in their emotional makeup, and in their social nature, and in their ways of raising their young. We need to protect them, and their natural environments. We also need to give our captive elephants the kindness and care that a modern human society, armed with the knowledge, can and should give, and that these elephants, til now, have only rarely seen and felt.


Dana   February 5th, 2009 1:35 pm ET

So because you want kids to be able to see elephants somewhere besides TV and books it's ok for them to be abused. I don't quite understand "why" we as people have any "right" to see any animals anywhere except the wild! We take animals from their families to put on display for us to pay money and go look at. People! Put your heads on stright! These poor animals !


Fay Morris   February 5th, 2009 6:43 pm ET

Children understand when this matter is explained to them in calm, truthful conversation. Tell them the babies are snatched cruelly from the mothers, when they naturally live their entire life with all female relatives. Tell them before a circus performance the elephants are forced to urinate and deficate, if one has an accident during performance, after the public goes home, that elephant is beaten for having an accident in front of the public. At that point, be adult enough to explain to the child just how that is achieved, it is not pretty. Elephants are capable by instinct to care for a sick sister, to hold their own funeral service for a member who has died, to play , to be humorous, to walk as many miles a day as the family wants, In the circus, none of this natural life style is allowed to exist.


Danielle Noel   February 5th, 2009 10:14 pm ET

Jami you say:
"Of course, no animal should be abused. But as we put Ringling Bros. on trial, let’s keep in mind that most kids in this country will never see an elephant in the wild.The only real elephants they will ever see will be in the zoo or at a parade — or at the circus "

I say: You contradict yourself.

You say: "If we want our children to learn to love them too, we will need to make our peace with animals in captivity and with those who choose to work with them there"

I say: As a mother of 2 children, I can tell you that you are categorically wrong. My children understand that elephants do not belong in captivity. My children have seen elephants at a so-called "award winning elephant exhibit" – they could see for themselves how truly deplorable these elephants' lives are. They absolutely refuse to go to a circus with animals.


Dawn   February 5th, 2009 10:24 pm ET

"If we want our children to learn to love them too, we will need to make our peace with animals in captivity and with those who choose to work with them there."
Jami Floyd has taken the this stance, which is no stance at all, to compromise the health, safety and mental well being of captive creatures to promote the corporate dollar and status quo of the Ringling Bros. Circus. Jami Floyd represents all amoralist quislings who sell out to promote their own name and self-interest.
Compromise with brutes who beat animals to death, sometimes, to teach children that dominance, deprivation and exploitation are good values? Humane treatment is founded on moral responsibility to ensure that captive animals entrusted in our care are treated with compassion and the animals' dignity is preserved. In a democracy, we each have a voice and a responsibility to make sure that the voice of those who can't speak for themselves is heard also. In a democracy, no one should be mistreated or abused and neither should any animal be mistreated or abused. The principle is simple: how a society permits its animals to be treated reflects how that society treats each other.
Elephant sanctuary is a far better tool for teaching children and adults about elephants, where one can witness remarkable behavior far more fascinating than the perverse circus antics of riding a tricycle. Educate yourself on the true condition of elephant populations worldwide. It will open your eyes. In a perfect world, the Ringling Bros. could be persuaded to co-labor with conservationists and sanctuaries for a much greater purpose and a better legacy.


ilovethewildlife   February 6th, 2009 12:07 am ET

Oh my God people you dont even have a clue about how these animals feel chained and forced to do things that are beyond Mother Nature and most important God .
Lets for once imagine giving birth and you cannot lay down you must stand in one position and by all means dont scream because you will only be told to be quiet or get struck by a bullhook.
This is the way it is and that is the truth in the circus world.
These poor animals and I mean elephants, Tigers, Monkeys,Donkeys,
Horses, Lions, you name it they dont care there all in it for the money.
What makes them think an animal likes this kind of treatment. They are all out of there minds and only think of thereselves.
The Circus and others that use these animals as pets and for entertainment are going againt Gods Commanments:
Please read this as it is in the Bible:
Ultimately it was only Eve, the female counterpart of the male, who could alleviate Adams' loneliness. But the animals continued to be the beloved companions they were created to be–until the Fall.

After sin entered the picture, not only did the relationship between human beings become destructive, men also became violent towards the other creatures with whom they shared the earth. The animals reacted to this cruelty by becoming antagonistic to men, and to each other. The Bible places the blame for their degeneration on mankind, reporting that it was because of the sins of men that the rest of creation fell. (Romans 8:19-22)

The violence that eventually characterized life on earth was horrific, and is best described by a passage from the Bible. "The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on earth had become, and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil, all the time...So the lord said: I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth–men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air–for I am grieved that I made them." (Gen. 6:5,7 NIV)

It was this degeneration of all creation that led to the Great Flood. But even as Noah was warned about the catastrophe that was to come, he was told that in order to survive he would have to provide a way of escape for the animals.

Man had been given dominion–responsibility for the animals–at the time of creation. And although he had failed miserably in his stewardship, he was still responsible for the other creatures with whom he shared the earth. If he did not provide for their safety and well-being, there would be no safety for him or his family. If Noah did not help them survive, he and his family would not survive.
Ultimately it was only Eve, the female counterpart of the male, who could alleviate Adams' loneliness. But the animals continued to be the beloved companions they were created to be–until the Fall.

After sin entered the picture, not only did the relationship between human beings become destructive, men also became violent towards the other creatures with whom they shared the earth. The animals reacted to this cruelty by becoming antagonistic to men, and to each other. The Bible places the blame for their degeneration on mankind, reporting that it was because of the sins of men that the rest of creation fell. (Romans 8:19-22)

The violence that eventually characterized life on earth was horrific, and is best described by a passage from the Bible. "The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on earth had become, and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil, all the time...So the lord said: I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth–men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air–for I am grieved that I made them." (Gen. 6:5,7 NIV)

It was this degeneration of all creation that led to the Great Flood. But even as Noah was warned about the catastrophe that was to come, he was told that in order to survive he would have to provide a way of escape for the animals.

Man had been given dominion–responsibility for the animals–at the time of creation. And although he had failed miserably in his stewardship, he was still responsible for the other creatures with whom he shared the earth. If he did not provide for their safety and well-being, there would be no safety for him or his family. If Noah did not help them survive, he and his family would not survive.

The Bible continues this story of God's equal concern for human and nonhuman beings as it tells the story of the post-Flood world. The Eighth chapter of Genesis begins: "And God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock that were with him in the ark...and the waters receded."

I rest my case in the hands of God and may he forgive you for your sins.
Sincerly, Carolyn> ilovethewildlife


charlene g   February 6th, 2009 8:55 am ET

rev simpson, THANK YOU! tyke was the elephant i was recalling in my last post( elephant in hawaii circus goes on a rampage/ when animals attack) = these animals deserve our protection and our concern for their wellbeing...tyke should never have been shot down( by 86 bullets) NOR should she have been subjected to the abuse that led to her ramage and demise to begin w/ .that would have probably avoided the whole tragedy.


KSmith   February 6th, 2009 12:47 pm ET

I'm with all of the other posters, Jami. Your views are incredibly selfish and childish. I hope you learn something from this and do an article about how cruelly these animals are treated and actually help the world instead of filling it with your uneducated opinions.


waterlily   February 6th, 2009 1:29 pm ET

How does everyone feel about horses? They are wild animals that we train and dominate for our use. How is that different than an elephant? Where do we draw the line? At dogs? Fish? C'mon. People are so over sensitive these days. There is always a double standard when people make claims the way Peta does. God forbid some of these women from Peta go without their makeup that is made from animal fat. Relax people.


ilovethewildlife   February 6th, 2009 6:42 pm ET

Right On Todd you said it all and the 100% truth!


Beth Osmer   February 8th, 2009 2:36 pm ET

I am with most of the other posters, Jamie, this article is ridiculous and self serving. A circus is no way to teach children about animals. Everything about the circus is unnatural. In fact you are exposing children to cruelty.


Shayleen   February 8th, 2009 3:04 pm ET

Jami is NOT uneducated and thank God we have the right to an opinion in this country or at least I thought we did.


Spider   February 9th, 2009 1:13 pm ET

OK, let's step back and take a good look at all this.

1. Our planet is struggling to maintain natural habitations for animals.
2. We, as a nation, are creeping up on double digit unemployment.
3. Many of our citizens do not have homes to live in.

With all of the above, you people really want to argue about wether or not elephants are being mistreated in zoos and circuses?
Is it really, all things considered, that important that we shut down all wild animal exhibits? Unemploy hundreds of thousands of animal handlers, release these animals back into the wild or a preserve while humans are living in cardboard boxes.

Maybe we should all quit visiting zoos and circuses, all become vegetarians and let all wild animals roam free. Hey, with this economy, we may all be living in the wild, eating nuts and berries. When that happens, I'm positive that the kindly wild animals will take us in and feed and shelter us safely and comfortably.

Priorities people, puhleeze.


Deborah Robinson   February 9th, 2009 8:40 pm ET

Spider, I'm sorry if you feel that compassion is so finite – in my world, all life is intertwined. If we can't feel compassion for one kind of lining being, what kind can we hope to show for other living beings? If we continue to treat animals as circus elephants are treated, then we will continue to be thoughtless about their habitat (why save the jungle when we can see them performing right here?) and we spiral further into a world where there is no more wildlife. We don't yet fully understand the effect that such ecosystem degradation will have on people, but it won't be good! Do you really think there are "hundreds of thousands" of animal trainers that this lawsuit will affect? You might want to work on your own reality check. As to your suggestion, humorously intended, that we all become vegetarians – are you aware that animal agriculture is one of the major causes of global warming today? So yes, if you really want to help people, you should definitely go vegetarian. But this lawsuit isn't about that, or ALL the animals, or even all the captive elephants. Right now, it's about the cruelties inflicted by Feld entertainment on the elephants that they routinely beat and chain, making their lives ones of constant suffering. It needs to end.


bcelefan   February 9th, 2009 10:29 pm ET

I have always "loved" CNN for their reporting... Anderson Cooper of 360 especially. But Woww Jami Floyd's perception of Ringling’s was over the top. No she might not be an uneducated woman but she is uneducated in the defence of Asian Elephants. She stated: “most kids in this country will never see an elephant in the wild. The only real elephants they will ever see will be in the zoo or at a parade” Yes this could be very true. But still as humans should we allow abuse of these animals to entertain our children? I noticed they kept playing the wonderful video of the elephants feast. What of the other videos in defence. The ones where bullhooks are used to rib into the elephants flesh ohhh sorry that is right Ringling states it is a guide. If a guide why do the elephants “cry” why do the elephants have holes dug into their fleesh? Why do they bleed? Maybe it is about time we all joined the circus and learned the real truth. Find the videos of Benjamin as his trainer at first is laughing as he is drowning in a pond. Why did this baby elephant choose to drown? Because he was loved by his trainer or abused by his trainer. Why do some of the elephants finally say enough is enough? Tyke, Misty and others. The circus industry states the bullhook is a guide. Okay so what they are saying is it is a guide, then why not another item how about a ¼ inch or ½ inch thick dowelling. This can be used as a guide a gentle tool and has no hook on it to rip into the elephant. Remember Ringling says it is a guide. As for the remark about what would be next the circus and zoos. Well this just shows you how uneducated the statements were. As it has been noted that there are X number of captive elephants in North America and there are only two accredited Sanctuary’s and between the two of them they will not be able to take all the captive elephants. So it is up to the AZA zoos to step up to the plate and start providing for the captive elephants in their care. Provide space for the elephant not the human’s eye. Same as Ringling they need to step up to the plate and change. The circus they have today worked back in the late 1800’s and thru the 1900’s. Today the public is becoming more and more aware and educated. The public is studying the AZA standards and circus standards regarding captive elephants. So when doing a story it would be honest and fair to do it also from the opposing side the elephant’s side. Yes I was to the circus as a child and I was disturbed by what I saw and how the elephants were treated I call the Circus industry the Cruellest show on Earth. Elephants do not stand on their heads, elephants do not stand on small drums and the list goes on. There are videos out there watch them and NO they are not doctored. That is Ringling’s cry they are like your children who got caught with their fingers in the cookie jar and now are trying to cough up a lie. IF they were man enough and big enough they would admit to their mistakes and try to improve but they will continue to lie and continue to abuse the elephant. From baby to adult abuse. Take to the man or woman who says they love their dog as they beat it!!! Same idea.

Note to spider if we can't get people to understand what is under their nose the thrill of the circus when it comes to town is cruelity at its finest how do you expect those same people to understand your three points ..... the don't and won't !!! unless they are living it and the circus elephant lives it day in and day out.


Spider   February 10th, 2009 8:58 am ET

Shayleen-

You thought correctly. We all have the right to an opinion. You have the right to blindly agree with someone you consider more intelligent than yourself. Others have the right to have their own opinions, even if that opinion doesn't match the opinion of someone "NOT uneducated."


Kaitelyn   February 11th, 2009 3:29 pm ET

I agree with this article. This trial should have never gotten this far. It's utterly ridiculous. And those of you placing judgement, don't even have enough background to make an educated judgement. Have you ever worked around elephants? Have you ever trained an elephant? Handled an elephant? No. Then how can you claim to know what's best for an elephant? The circus has an incredible history, and if you really knew true circus history, some of you might change your minds. Now granted I do know that some past circuses have abused their animals, but I know for a FACT that Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey do not abuse their animals. Feld Entertainment has so much time, effort, and money invested into these animals (particularly elephants), why on Earth would they abuse them or let anyone abuse them, for that matter?
Do you people realize what is involved in any kind of animal training? Horses, dogs, cats, marine mammals?
A bullhook is not some torturous weapon!! It won't even break human skin on contact! Besides the fact, elephants ARE pachyderms, which literally means thick skin. And they are 10,000 pound creatures! Elephants have to be tethered at times...you can't let a 10,000 pound animal roam free, how safe is that? You don't let your dog roam free. This is why we have leashes, and fences and why sometimes people chain their own domestic animals up. You can't put an elephant on a "leash", this is what the bullhook is used for. It's a Guide. The same as for a halter and lead on a horse, you can't put a halter on an elephant. Bullhooks/ankuses/guides have been in use for centuries and is to this day accepted by the AZA. It isn't used to "beat" the elephant, and the crop isn't used to beat a horse in horse racing and training.
Elephants love to perform, and these elephants in Ringling's circus have been doing it their whole lives. Why take that away from them? Elephants are also the major draw of audiences for circuses. And why shouldn't they be? They are magnificent animals, with great beauty and intellect. They are gently giants. And they are loved by the people who work with them. Handlers, trainers, keepers, they have such a great bond with their elephants. They do not harm them. I know.
As far as their health...Ringling's elephants are the most pampered elephants in the country. I have witnessed it. And they have the best veterinary care that is out there. The Ringling vets drop whatever it is they are doing to tend to an animal that needs attention.
And if you still think that these elephants should not be in circuses, and follow through with banning them...what exactly do you think will happen to the elephants? What do you plan to do with them? How do you plan to care for them?


Fay Morris   February 11th, 2009 10:50 pm ET

I'm sorry Kaitelyn, you try to make the point that you KNOW all about elephants. Take their skin as an example, the skin of the elephant is so delicate that they know instantly when one fly lands on them. You say the Bull Hook doesn't hurt, then why when they are hit with it do they scream? Perhaps you never heard the saying "Treat an elephant with kindness and respect and you can lead him with a thread." So your guides and tethers would not be necessary, would they?


Lori Gomez   February 20th, 2009 1:39 pm ET

My son was a toddler when my husband and I took him in early '90's to see Ringling Bros. performance in O.C., CA., When it was over, I swore I would never take him again! As far away as we were sitting, I could visually see the damage, neglect to the elephants...HEART BREAKING! Take your child to a zoo to see animals...where they are treated humanly...


Sandra   March 18th, 2009 7:15 pm ET

I'll add my thoughts to this as well. I went to one circus as a young person and will not go back. Even as a child I was very uncomfortable with the way the animals were treated. As an adult, I find it obscene. There is no excuse to have animals in a circus. Cirque de Soleil is very successful with humans only. It's time we changed our attitude about these varied creatures created by God to live among us...not to be USED by us but to be cared for by us. God give people "dominion" over animals...dominion being the responsiblity to care and govern. Not to abuse. I will never visit another animal program of any kind. Even zoos make me uncomfortable, although I understand the need for captive breeding programs. It's just not right.


Loudonchick   March 24th, 2009 5:26 pm ET

Free the Majestic Elephants they have more feelings than most humans. Its time to put a stop, not only the elephants, but all animals that are made to do things they don't want to do, just so you and your kid can have a laugh or too, at the price of abuse and torture of a helpless animals. You and your kid need put in a cage where you can't even turn around for a day or so, see how you like it. Animals are wild they need to be in the wild, not some hot box car hrs on end or chained , for your amusement. You want to show your kid the wild life, go on a safari , read a book, or watch them on T.V. And then your the same people that are outraged when the animal has finally had all it can take,and fights back. Find something else that amuses you. Leave the animals wild and free.


Gabbi   July 6th, 2010 11:42 am ET

Finally the sophistication of the SCRAM technology device is described.
Darren Koviniky (criminal defense attorney) is knowledgeable about the technology and effectively communicaged that it ' detects "transdermal" alcohol". It is extremely accurate and can differentiate between alcohol consumption and alcohol being spilled on the device as well as tampering.



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