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The Abuse Of Circus Elephants Essay

3369 words - 13 pages

The smell of popcorn and cotton candy in the air and the sight of elephants entering the big top, trunk in tail, seems like a dream come true. How they perform those intricate tricks so smoothly is quite a sight. How are those large creatures capable of a headstand? Well, according to a New York Times article, circus elephants endure training methods that include: electric prodding, beatings, hours of being chained up, and unimaginable cruelty. Due to their large size many trainers feel that the intimidation method is the only way such a large and wild creature can be trained (“Its a Wonder More”). Often people are unaware of the abuse that goes on in the training of these gentle giants. Maggie Knox, author of the article “Students Protest Cruelty Towards Circus Elephants,” shares the fact that an elephants is not the family dog and cannot be trained with treats; therefore, they are trained to be frightened of not performing. Tricia Lebkuecher, the service chair for Vegetarians International Voice for Animals, states that, “it is unethical to use wild animals for entertainment purposes.”(qtd. in Knox 1). Ringling Bros is one of the worst offenders and was fined $270,000 for animal cruelty which is one of the largest circus fines in history. They have received several citations over the years for poor handling, improper veterinary attention, and unsanitary feeding methods (Knox 1). While the sight of elephants performing in a big top may be a dream come true, it is an elephants worst nightmare. Due to the suffering that circuses inflict on elephants, they should no longer have the privilege of working with or caring for elephants.

Circuses should be prohibited from working with elephants for three reasons. The first

reason being, elephants strive when living in their natural environment. The second reason is that elephants suffer such physical abuse working in circuses. And the third and final reason for the prohibition of elephants in circuses is the emotional abuse that elephants endure not only while performing in the circus but for many years after.

First off, elephants are large animals that need to be kept in the wild. The New York Times article, “Its a Wonder More Circus Elephants Don’t Go Over the Edge,” suggests that elephants are happiest in their natural environment and strive in their own habitat. Elephants submerge their entire bodies in water more than once a day to keep cool and to prevent overheating. Not only is it good to be near large bodies of water but elephants need miles and miles of land. It is said that elephants should be able to walk eighteen to twenty miles a day on average, that is even correct if they are not looking for food (“Its a Wonder More”). In a States News Service article, about Sarah Silverman, is a copy of her letter to the federal government asking for these creatures to be freed from their enslavement in the circus. In this letter Silverman, a comedian/actress and animal rights...

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