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11:59 AM Wed, Dec. 12th

Letter | Norman Swartz: Animals are happiest when engaged

Guess what, folks? Animals, like human beings, are happiest when they are engaged.

Why does your dog sit by the front door, leash in mouth? Why, it’s because he wants to do something, of course. Isn’t that obvious?

He craves the sights and sounds of the outside world, and he may be utterly dependent upon you to take him there.

Should we ban animal ownership because some individuals are abusive to their animals? Of course not. We remain on the lookout for instances of animal abuse, and we go after and hopefully prosecute the individual offender.

As for it being “unnatural” to live a cage all of your life, let me ask you something: Why do you live in a house? Are you by any chance protected there?

Isn’t it more “natural” to live outside? Homeless? With no “unnatural” TV of course.

Look, “natural” went out the window when we first brought these animals from the jungles of Burma to live in zoos. Primarily for educational purposes and display, not to “punish” the “poor abused” animals. Not everyone can afford to visit the African savanna, let alone take our children there and subjecting them to the “natural” habitat of the Malaria-carrying mosquito.

Oh, the poor abused mosquito. Give them something to bite.

You don’t think an elephant enjoys the roar of the crowd, the adulation for his skills? Just like your dog appreciates a pat on the head accompanied by a warm, “Good doggie.”

An elephant or tiger likely enjoys the travel, the changes in sights and sounds just as much as you do. The smell of ocean breezes, of wheat in harvest.

But no. You think they would rather live in one spot in a zoo for the rest of their lives with absolutely nothing to do? A circus is exciting. They love it.

What’s needed, if anything, is an objective animal observer to travel with the circus, one who makes his rounds daily checking on the animals’ welfare like anyone else who cares about them.

Listen, when my ladyfriend was airlifted to a Nevada hospital, an observer was present on the helicopter.

As a witness and for an ethics presence.