Los Angeles May Ban Elephants in Circus ShowsPublished January 10, 2013
The Los Angeles City Council is considering passing a ban prohibiting elephants from appearing in circuses within city limits.
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, aka the Greatest Show on Earth, is the oldest and most highly renowned circus in the United States.
For the past 93 years, the company’s legendary huge train has been bringing 4 ton elephants and other popular animal species to Los Angeles in order to delight the “children of all ages”.
After all, what could be more thrilling than watching highly trained elephants, fancy horses and “ferocious” lions and tigers who obediently go through their paces; while at the same time you’re munching on hot buttered popcorn and savory cotton candy?
According to the New York Times animal rights advocates have for eons denounced the techniques used to train and transport elephants, calling them cruel and inhumane. As a result of their outspoken condemnation, Los Angeles is presently considering a ban on elephants performing in all circuses within their city limits, including the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus.
As a result of their overwhelming protestation, unless Ringling Brothers agrees to discard one of its most popular acts, should the City Council decide implement a ban this year, the most prestigious and beloved circus will be barred from making an appearance in Los Angeles.
Sponsoring the ban was City Council member Paul Koretz who is a passionate supporter of animal welfare and environmental issues. Koretz said, "The treatment of elephants in traveling circuses is one of the crueler practices, and it’s time for us to stand up for them." He is hopeful that if Los Angeles passes the ban other cities will take similar action. He added, "At some point, this will be universally banned throughout the country.” Currently there are six cities in Southern California that have banned circus elephants, and the Orange County Fair and the Santa Ana Zoo no longer features elephant rides.
However, citing the frequent Department of Agriculture inspections that document the excellent care the animals are receiving, Ringling Brothers is fighting back; strongly contending their treatment of elephants, tigers and the other animals spotlighted in their show are treated humanely
Stephen Payne, a spokesperson for Feld Entertainment, (the company that purchased Ringling Brothers in 1967) said, “Seeing animals up close is one of the main reasons people come to Ringling Brothers. Animal rights organizations want no human-animal interaction, period, regardless of how the animals are cared for.”
But it’s not just the alleged mistreatment of elephants performing in circuses that ranks high on the list of objections made by animal rights groups. In addition to the fact that elephants are an endangered species there is a debate about whether humans should interact with wild animals at all. On the other hand, trainers claim that by letting people interact with elephants, they are more likely to become involved in conservation activities.
Elephants are extremely intelligent, emotionally expressive animals who form close and lasting bonds with their family members. Just like humans they mourn their dead. So how can anyone who truly admires the species and is cognizant of their special needs condone such exploitation?
This writer fervently hopes that the City Council will institute this pending ban, and that it will be emulated by all cities and towns across the country. What do you think? Tell us in a comment.
While the video of the RBBB circus train uploaded to YouTube by o00o00ozy is lengthy, it is well worth watching. You can see the animals being loaded and unloaded at the 7.41 segment of the video.