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Like many people on Monday, I woke to the sad news of David Bowie's death. On top of that, Another announcement was made by Feld Entertainment that the preparations for the touring elephants down at the CEC were now complete, so they'll be taken off the road 1.5 years ahead of schedule...this May.

For the detailed Associated Press article, CLICK HERE

Of course, since last February, we knew this was coming. But that doesn't make it any less sad.

I think the people who regularly read this blog know that it's not a soapbox. And I am not one who likes to push my views on others. But this time there are a few things that I'd like to say. If you don't care to read my thoughts on this subject just scroll on past, no harm done :)

First, I just want to say that circus animals are NOT wild animals. Many people seem to be under the impression that circus animals are taken from the wild and forced into a performance environment, and use this as their reason for supporting the removal of elephants from the circus. But the truth is, the animals are not wild. The elephants have either been born and raised in captivity in the US, or were purchased from logging companies in India (where elephants have been domesticated for hundreds of years). The tigers are also born in captivity and raised by humans from day one. And of course this is also true of the horses, camels, dogs, etc. Many animals around the world have been born and raised successfully in captivity. A captive animal does not equal an abused animal. If you have pets, you already know this.

would love to see more elephants, tigers, horses, etc. living freely in the wild. The sad fact, though, is that the wild is a nonexistent place right now, and it's our (humans) fault. There are more tigers living in captivity in the US than there are in the wild worldwide, and that's a very sad thing. I think that until we can provide a safe(r) environment for elephants and other animals to return to, animals in zoos and circuses and sanctuaries and shelters are simply going to have to be a reality. Attacking the circus doesn't end the problem or even begin to address the problem.

Second, the main reason that the elephants are being taken out of the circus is because people have voted for and successfully passed anti-elephant legislation in many US states. The loudest voices have gotten their way. It is too expensive for Feld to continue fighting this legislation on a national scale. It is much cheaper and easier to simply do what people apparently want, and take the elephants away. The removal of the elephants is not an admission of wrongdoing; it's a business decision.

Third, I hope that you will take a moment to educate yourself on the difference between animal welfare and animal rights. If you believe that "Pet ownership is an abysmal situation brought about by human manipulation" (quote from Ingrid Newkirk), you probably fall into the animal rights category, and you should know what you are supporting. The ultimate goal of animal rights is no relationship whatsoever between animals and humans. No pets. No hunting or fishing. No eating meat. No zoos. No seeing-eye dogs or police search-and-rescue dogs. No life-saving medical procedures that are possible thanks to animals (skin grafts, heart valve surgeries, vaccines, AIDS treatments, etc). If you agree with all of these things, congratulations, you are an animal rights supporter. If you do not agree with all of these things, I hope that you will consider the consequences before voting to pass anti-animal legislation in your state (or staying at home and doing nothing).

Lastly, I just hope people will reflect on the consequences of this decision, good and bad. The elephants here at Feld Entertainment have a home to go to, where they will be cared for at a cost of around $65,000 per year EACH (with 40-some elephants in Ringling's herd, that's over $2.5 million per year). Other animals are not so lucky and don't necessarily have a place to go once they are "liberated" from their current homes. Removing an animal from a captive environment is not always the best thing for the animal.

And it's not always the best thing for the humans, either.
Come May, your children will never be able to experience this again.

Tirade over.

Anyway, all of this put me in a melancholy mood. I caught up on some internet work, then borrowed Jameson's car to run errands. Wouldn't you know it, 15 minutes into my drive I got rear-ended. Fortunately it was a super mild collision, no one was hurt and the cars weren't even damaged. But I was shaken up, and traffic was so bad that I decided to just get back to the train. Jameson was very sweet, giving me a hug and checking that I was ok before having a look at his car. We found a few scratches and some paint transfer but otherwise, no harm done. Hooray!

The next day was better :) Jameson took me minigolfing!! We've wanted to go for a while now but never found time. It was pretty rainy out so we found an indoor place called Monster Mini Golf. It was pretty cool!

Along the walls bits of trivia were painted ("What does it mean when you see a spider on Halloween?") and there were crazy characters and animatronics at every turn. About halfway through the course I started to falter, and Jameson took the lead. He ended up winning!

There was an arcade adjacent, and we played some games and won some tickets, and used them to "buy" goofy little prizes. I won at air hockey, that made me feel a little better about losing in golf ;) It was a great way to spend the day!

The next day I had nothing pressing to do, so decided to try out the clip-on macro lens that Raven got me for Christmas. I spent the afternoon chasing insects around the train yard. It's a pretty cool lens and I got some nice shot of various bugs living their lives.

The next day was opening day. We had a kiddie show in the morning and the kids were unusually hyper. Must be all the sunshine down here. Every time Taba yelled, "Let me hear you SCREAM"....

(sorry it's a video of my stupid face. I couldn't get my phone up to audience level while playing :/)

Friday was much the same, kids show in the morning and a normal show at night. Good stuff.

Saturday, three shows and very rainy and muddy. Three shows on Sunday as well...our first six pack of the year! All of the shows went very well and were well-attended. After the Sunday shows Jameson had a rehearsal with one of our clowns, so I stuck around and observed the magic of circus kids. Aren't they amazing??

We have one more show on Monday night, then it's off to South Carolina!

Other stuff:

Pictures of elephants. Because. Don't be surprised if these keep coming up until May.
(Photo credits go to Ryan H., Adria C., Mark R., Julia B. and more so if I forgot you, I'm sorry!!)


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 31st, 2016 11:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
Thank you for saying it all so eloquently about the elephants.

I will be very sad to see the circus without the elephants. It just wont be the same anymore. Sadly, before you know it, there will be no more tigers, camels or dogs performing in the circus.

Is Boston or Worcester Mass (or anything else in the northeast) on your route this season? By the time I hear about it, it's usually too late to get tickets, but if I know you are coming I can watch for them to go on sale.
Feb. 1st, 2016 03:25 am (UTC)
Thanks, glad you liked it. I did my best. There are many more things I would say...very emotional things as you can imagine. But ranting is not a thing that I do (much haha).

Hopefully the other animals will stick around. If there is going to be an argument that dogs, horses, etc should not be in the circus, then the use of these animals as personal pets, companions and work animals will also be brought to question. I'd like to hope that even if people don't care to stand up for the injustice being done to the circus, they'll at least grow the balls to stand up for their own animals.

Here is our schedule (both Red and Blue units). Both units spend time in the northeast, and we do play Manchester at some point. But the elephants will be gone from both units by May. https://www.ringling.com/tickets-schedules/

Edited at 2016-02-01 03:29 am (UTC)
Feb. 1st, 2016 01:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the link. You will be fairly local to me in May, Manchester NH is only 45 minutes away. Hartford about 90 minutes. (Where I live it's 20 to 30 minutes to the nearest highway depending on traffic.) Now I just need to remember to buy tickets when they go on sale later this month. Maybe I will see you then.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )