Friday, April 24, 2009

The Elephant in the Room


What is it about people that makes them put their own enjoyment over the needs of other living things? I understand greed. I understand desperation. There are circumstances that can explain people, even decent people, doing terrible things.

But …

In the case of many zoos and most circuses I can only come up with two explanations for those who continue to support them.

Arrogance – the belief that we have the right to determine the fate of creatures we deem less than us for our own amusement.

Ignorance – not being aware of the facts of life for animals being held in zoos or being exploited and abused in circuses.

I can’t do much about the first but I’m going to keep on trying to do something about the latter.

Bob Barker was on Craig Ferguson’s show talking about the successful rescue of Maggie. He paid to have her flown from a zoo in Alaska to the PAWS Sanctuary in Northern California.

He and many others are currently fighting to rescue more suffering elephants. Especially those at the LA Zoo.

Kudos to the Alaskan Zoo for agreeing to release Maggie. Sneers to the LA Zoo for not giving a damn about their animals.

In the interest of fairness you can read the zoo’s side of the argument HERE Sounds like a load of political crap to me.

The Ringling Brothers Circus is still here in NYC and I’ve read a lot of blogs and news reports about how wonderful ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ is. It isn’t. As I posted LAST MONTH, the circus is being actively investigated for horrid elephant abuse.

Places like PAWS and the sanctuary in Tennessee that I posted about HERE are the ones doing the great work. For the animals. Not for the mindless enjoyment of people who either don’t care or don’t know any better.

You might not be able to see the elephants dance and wear silly hats at the sanctuary but you can know that a majestic creature with wants and needs and feelings much like your own is finally living a life of dignity.

the photo is from National Geographic

23 comments:

Bond said...

I admire your determination when there is a cause you feel so strongly about.

Dianne said...

bond - thanks, I just really do believe in people wanting to do the right thing if they have the right tools and enough information - and I wanted to be fair, really fair - not Fox fair, so I included the zoo's viewpoint.

Mrs. C said...

Dianne, as a Christian I believe that man has dominion over the animals, but God also demands an accounting of every animal's blood as well.

Bad news for our house: Woodjie is allergic to cats! :[ We're not getting rid of the cat, but no more snuggling for him and she must stay out of the room where he sleeps.

Jay said...

I'm in total agreement with you when it comes the circus. The animals are strutted around like some kind of freak show. It's disgusting.

Most zoos aren't much better. The animal enclosures are small and the care of the animals is average to crappy. Some zoos are great though and those should be commended, but the crappy ones should be forced to improve conditions or close.

Deborah Godin said...

It's always saddened me that in order to love and care about animals, we feel we have to be able to see and even touch them. I love marine mammals, and hope they can survive in the wild, but I don't need to go to a theme park, zoo to love them. I don't even believe in many of the so-called eco-tourism ventures. I think whale-watching in noisey polluting boats is not the answer either. I'm kind of a hardnose purist on the subject, I admit.

Natalie said...

Bravo again, Di. Breaks my heart. Hugs to you, Mia and Siren and thank you for all that you do.

Cherie said...

The story that Bob told about relocating Maggie touched my heart. I guess it can be good to know some people in high places. lol

mielikki said...

I get tearful at zoo's and "animal shows", especially the marine wildlife ones. My mom never could figure out why I was crying when we were watching the killer whale shows she used to take me to. I avoid those places now, and wish they would all cease to exist. We need to let the animals be.....

Akelamalu said...

The only thing I liked about the circus was watching the clowns get drenched!

I'm not totally against zoos, they are the only way some people will ever get to see a live 'wild' animal. However, the badly run ones should be shut down without delay.

A. said...

I'm not against a well-run zoo, but as far as circuses go...I'll take Cirque du Soleil.

Allison

Sparkling Red said...

I don't go to zoos anymore. I can sense the animals' depression, and it's just horrible.

Thom said...

I have been to my last zoo after reading this...you are the bomb with your caring and things you believe in. Keep up the good work :)

meno said...

Zoos have always made me so sad. Like it's okay to cage an animal when it's for our education/amusement.

Bah!

Dianne said...

mrs c - kudos for not getting rid of the cat and taking the extra bit of care to keep both child and cat happy. Woodje could wear grooming gloves, then he could pet the cat and get rid of hair at the same time. Pet stores have them for just a few dollars.

jay - it's been shown that sanctuaries cost less than zoos. the only thing they lack is the ability for people to visit freely. my feeling is - too bad.

deborah - then we'll be hardnoses together, it would be my honor.

natalie - thanks kiddo. Mi/Si send love to their Auntie.

cherie - Barker does a lot! I've always been impressed with that.

mie - letting them be would be such a blessing

akelamalu - I can't believe the Ringling Bros circus hasn't been shut down yet

allison - acrobats over elephants any day

sparkling - I recently learned that the head nodding that many think is an elephant dancing is actually a signal of acute distress, breaks my heart.

thom - wow! thanks for believing in what's important for the animals. If you have a moment check out the second link I posted - there are some very simple ways to help - like letting your local zoo know how you feel. thanks!!

meno - exactly my friend! if the animal isn't going to benefit then it shouldn't be done.

Raven said...

Well said as always! I love that photo. So much character and expression in that face. My niece Diana was very involved in trying to rescue an elephant named Bamboo from the Seattle Zoo. Last I heard they had not won their case despite an enormous amount of public support. Strange world we live in.

I have mixed feelings about zoos. The only one I've ever been to is the Bronx Zoo. I remember things there that depressed me when I was a child, but it was also a special place to me and even then was working at creating habitats. Some of these zoos are doing work to help save species that are endangered and are teaching institutions, but I fear most zoos are like the circus... mindless cruelty in the name of entertainment.

Liberality said...

It is very heartwarming that there ARE people who do care about animals and not just about how animals can benefit us.

Matt-Man said...

How many burgers and steaks do you think an average elephant could generate? And, are they tasty? I have so many questions. Cheers Di!!

Hilary said...

Very well put, Dianne. I hate to see animals doing tricks to amuse us. Taking them away from their natural behaviour is such a disservice. I'm conflicted though about large zoos. There are so many kids who will never otherwise learn about and see most animals without them.

Thom said...

I did and it was awesome Dawn...took me a while to get back here...On 60 Minutes last night this was on. I had seen it before and forgotten they had shown it...This lady is amazing.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/12/19/60minutes/main4677338.shtml

Lu' said...

Many moons ago my ex and I went to the circus; I left crying. I could not stand to see the animals degraded in such a way.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

And Tippi Hedren at SHAMBALA has done an amazing job rescuing and saving mosty BIG Cats--Lions, Tigers, etc...But she has two Elephants, too, and you see them in a Natural Habitat and they are so very HAPPY!
Keep up the fight, my dear....I know all about RBBB....They reat the Elephants HORRIBLY!

byrningbunny said...

Amen, sister friend.

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