Time to end circus cruelty - to do otherwise is inhuman

Illusions distort our perception of reality from the moment of birth and throughout our lives. Our limited senses are able to process only a small amount of the information that continuously bombards us. Webster’s Dictionary defines an illusion as a “false perception, conception or interpretation, of what one sees, where one is.”

One common illusion is that we are stationary and on a firm surface. The reality, however, is that we are moving at a tremendous speed in a complex universe.

Another common illusion is that wild animals can be taught to perform senseless tricks for our amusement and are happy to do so. For centuries this false perception has been perpetrated in an entertainment venue called the “circus.”

Most adults recall the circus as a positive childhood experience representing a happy introduction to wild exotic creatures. Or so we thought and believed, as many adults do today.

The reality is far different from our childhood illusion. Creatures having lived forever wild, with their families, roaming large distances, and surviving on instinctual behaviors, are taken as infants and psychologically, physically, and emotionally tortured, until broken enough to perform unnatural tricks.

These hapless animals are starved, beaten, subjected to electric shock, solitary confinement, and all manner of abuse.

The illusion was formally exposed in 2009 when whistleblower Sam Haddock showed videos of how these baby animals were abused to the point of total submission. The word is now out, and the newspapers and videos everywhere abound with visual evidence of the tortures inflicted behind the scenes. We were the uninformed pubic, but now we are informed.

My search indicated that all major circuses have been cited and fined for their unnecessary inhumane ongoing mistreatment of animals for commercial gain.

The only limit to the number of actual known violations of the Animal Welfare Act is due to a lack of adequate policing. These wild animals are subject to a life of captivity, which can include eleven months of traveling in small containers, in their own excrement, usually chained and immobilized in all weather conditions. They become, by all standards, broken and totally traumatized.

The largest group of victims, other than the animals, are the children who are still subjected to the illusion. Children are continuing to be betrayed and misled by the circus industry – and the industry’s affiliates – into believing the animals are leading happy lives.

We know now that we can all see wild animals as they were meant to live on television programs that air on the National Geographic and Animal Planet networks, and hundreds of other films and documentaries that are available to all who might be interested.

The illusion and abuse need not continue and, indeed, a concerted effort is being made throughout the world in countries that believe in the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Let those of us who understand and believe it is time to end this illusion and the profiteering by the abuse of these magnificent creatures.

Take action now.

Make the circus animal free. This is occurring in more than 50 cities in the U.S.

Watch the videos, read the reports, share the knowledge so that our children will get to know wild animals as God created them.

This opinion is intended to provide food for thought, and if you see what I saw, perhaps enough energy for positive change will be generated to stop these senseless acts of cruelty.

Speak for the animals with your voice.

Contact your city council members and tell them to stop allowing the abusive circus in our cities and towns.

Mrs. Long lives in Lake Havasu City