Vegan Activism / Vegan Events / Vegan People

Gettin’ Real: Keep Circus Cruelty Out of the NW

Here is the thing, sometimes I talk about vegan food, sometimes I talk about vegan parties, often I profile vegan people in our town, and occasionally I talk about doing a little more for animals. Today I am going to make a case for doing something really specific this month. Don’t run away! Stay with me for just a few paragraphs.

Humans have a great capacity for compassion and for cruelty – but most people, when given all of the information, opt for compassion. Circuses that use living animals as entertainment are some of cruelest behind the scenes while wooing families with the prospect of happy dancing elephants and tigers jumping through hoops. Most people who attend the circus never imagine the horrors that go on for the sake of breaking these wild creatures. They don’t know that there are real individuals that suffer in these horrific, surreal traveling prisons – beaten to conform, forced to perform, chained and caged for most of their lives.

Many nations (Ireland, India, Sweden, Singapore, Austria, Finland, Costa Rica, and more) around the world have already banned animal circuses – as have many major cities, including our very own Redmond, WA. (WOO HOO!) But alas, Ringling Bros. Circus is coming to Everett, Tacoma, and Kent this month. And thousands of unassuming patrons will be dolling out dollars to one of the worst animal abusers.

Don’t like that idea? Does it make your stomach hurt to think that just a few miles from where we live, eat, and enjoy life that elephants will be beaten with bull-hooks and shocked with electric prods, tigers and lions will be hit with sticks, bears will be poked and prodded with long poles all for entertainment?  Does it make your heart ache like it does mine?

Then now is a perfect time to be brave and make a stand for what you think is right. It is a great time to speak out and share what you know about circus cruelty with those who might not know. But you don’t have to think of what to do all on your own! I’ve made a handy dandy list of things in order of easiest to most difficult. But of course, you don’t have to pick just one:

  1. LINKY: Post a link to information about why circuses are cruel (see below for a list) on Facebook or Twitter or via email and beg your friends and family not to support them.
  2. VISUAL: Post a photo or video (like the one above) that shows the reality behind the scenes. This is a little harder, but people aren’t cruel and if they see what happens to baby elephants as their will is broken to be performers, trust me, they will avoid the circus.
  3. LAWLIKE: If you live in Kent, Tacoma, and Everett write some letters to your city council. If you live anywhere in the NW, write a letter to your state legislative rep asking them to propose a state-wide ban. (Find your WA State legislator). 
  4. MEDIA: Write a letter to the editor of any and all papers in Kent, Tacoma, and Everett about why people should stay away from the circus. (Here is an example letter).
  5. VOICE: This is the best thing: share what you know with others, and come out and protest Ringling’s cruelty, stand up for the animals that will be in our back yard. Don’t stay home. When you are with others who care, and when you see what a difference just speaking out can do, you’ll be proud. For each city that bans circuses, for every family that ops not to buy a ticket, these animals and their future offspring get closer to sanctuaries. The money for the exotic animal trade dries up. This process of saying “no” to circuses and telling potential circus goers about the reality behind the myth is the only way to make it stop. {Kent Protest Info} {Tacoma Protest Info} {Everett Protest Info}

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” ― Elie Wiesel

These animals suffer silently. I hope that soon we’ll be adding Washington to the list of places that reject the cruelty of animal circuses. Until then, please use your voice to speak out for compassion. Yeah? OK. Cool. 

List of sites to read and share:
http://www.paws.org/circus-cruelty.html
http://www.animalcircuses.com/
http://www.circuses.com
http://www.ringlingbeatsanimals.com
http://www.aspca.org/fight-animal-cruelty/circus-cruelty/
http://www.bornfreeusa.org/a1a_circus.php

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