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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘Animals are not meant to be in a circus’


The Ringling Bros. Circus is coming to Tampa and its surrounding area starting in January. At one point in our lives, we all probably liked going to circuses and we did not know about the conditions the animals that performed were kept in.

Now that I’m older, I am aware of the realities of the cruelty that performance animals have to endure for the face of public eye.

Animals are absolutely beautiful when in their natural habitat.

I hope that everyone will get the opportunity to travel and witness scenes of nature first hand. It doesn’t make sense to me why the animal kingdom is overlooked when it comes to morality and what is right and what is wrong.

In time, you may realize that some animals make better people than humans do, and they’re the ones we can learn from. Elephants and lions, for example, have the abilities and capacities to love and hold family relations. That’s why I want people who have never thought about circuses or attended them to take a double look and think ‘Wait a minute, what is really going on here?’

Ringling has had serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Former workers who now speak up about the mistreatment toward the animals back up the accusations of abuse. We work so hard to conserve wildlife today and we treat the animals that we do still have around like this: Elephants doing handstands and standing on the other, and tigers balancing on an acrobat’s foot and jumping through a hoop of fire. I don’t understand why any of that can seem natural for the animal.

Animal trainers would tie captive elephants to a pole when they are young.

At that age, they’re too weak to leave it and so they grow believing that they can never break free. When they’re fully grown, they still stay at the pole even though they could easily break free at any time. To me, that is one of the most tragic things.

Circuses are beginning to be a thing of the past. But it takes more than one person to make that happen. I am asking the Tampa community to take a stand against this.

There are two wonderful elephant sanctuaries here in Tennessee and California that are always welcoming new ‘elefriends.’

One person is all it starts with.

As Steve Irwin said, “If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love.”

Jaqueline French is a senior majoring in biology.