Circus Didn’t Make Everyone Happy

To The Reader’s Forum:

Not everyone is happy that yet another circus that uses captive wild animals has “graced” Jamestown and the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena with its presence. Seeing the photo in The Post-Journal just made me feel so sorry for that elephant. I would never describe a captive wild animal being forced to stand on and balance on any sort of device as “classic.” Mundane or disturbing perhaps but nothing such a noble creature should ever have to endure. It looked so uncomfortable for the elephant.

Recently, I was asked what I don’t like about circuses that use captive wild animals so this is part of my answer. Regardless of what you believe about captive wild animal training methods, just imagine that your car is your home for months on end through no choice of your own. You will travel in it for hours and hours, going from performance to performance, from town to town, day in and day out. If you are let out of the car, it will be likely to work. You may be shackled in leg irons and chains. You may be forced to jump through a hoop of flames – even though you are terrified of fire – because you have no choice.

I explained to the individual who asked that there are those of us who have compassion and empathy and understand that captive wild animals do not volunteer for a life on the road. Wild animals deserve to be in their natural habitats. Semi-tractor trailers are not an elephant’s natural habitat. In the wild, elephants travel together in close-knit family units walking for many miles every day to find the most moist and tender plants to eat, not dry grasses such as hay.

During this conversation, I also expressed concern that any organization ought to be selective when it comes to whom it invites into our community. There are plenty of circuses these days that do not use captive wild animals and would, in my opinion, be a far better choice for family entertainment. Reportedly, there are towns in our country that have actually banned circuses that use captive wild animals. It would be wonderful if Jamestown would follow their progressive thinking and follow suit.

For now, I urge readers to not just boycott circuses that use wild animals but to also ask the organizations who bring them to our area to reconsider and look for alternative forms of family entertainment. My hope remains that future generations will be kindhearted and possess a sophisticated taste when it comes to choosing entertainment. An elephant having to endure traveling in a semi-tractor trailer so that an audience can see it stand on a device just won’t be appealing to them – it just won’t make sense to them either.

Chris Wigren