Circus of an animal's life
13 Sep 2012
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Welcome to ‘Lifetime Circus’. The curtains are raised and the human spectators acknowledge this with a huge round of applause. It’s show time. Multi-coloured focus lights illuminate the stage as over a thousand set of awestruck eyes gape with their mouths half hung open. One can see small children enjoying candy and popcorn, some folks clicking pictures while others hooting.Everybody is having a ball and all seem happy well, everyone except them, the so-called ‘stars of attraction’.
They are definitely responsible for those million dollar smiles and bucks tonight but somehow don’t get much credit.
Their feet are sore, trunks aching and bodies begging for some rest from relentless trainings and practices. You guessed it right, I am talking about the animals performing ‘tricks’ day after day at the circus for our entertainment. Most of them are incomprehensible and harmful to the animal’s natural development but nobody has time to think about these voiceless species. Time is money and many animal circuses go to great lengths for quick and efficient training.
The big cats (tigers) are jumping in and out of flaming hoops (never mind that tigers are naturally afraid of fire), bears are riding bicycles (balancing isn’t easy for someone who has lenty of spare tyres around his belly), seals are juggling balls and so on and so forth.Behind all that glitter and glitz on their faces it is hard to notice that dismal sheen flowing down their eyes.
They mar the makeup a bit but it doesn’t show. We observe them obeying their trainers’ commands but fail to acknowledge the slyly concealed whips and ankuses inside the jackets. Assortments of animals(dogs, fish, pigs, horse … you name it) are forced to perform at the circus. Instead of residing in the Afro Asian jungles they are doomed to spend the rest of their lives in circuses, carnivals, and parking lots.
Elephants are ‘stolen’ from their families at the age of two and hauled into circus.
Do you know that baby elephants are supposed to spend at least their first five years with their mothers? They are ripped off their much cherished freedom and liberty and are hackled in chains by their limbs so as to reduce all mobility. (Earlier walking was nothing less than twenty-five miles per day affair). The ‘king of the jungle’loves exploring his natural surroundings and before being hauled to the circus, his domain was ranged anything between a thousand to two thousand squaremiles.
All sorts of ‘tools’ are used to train these hapless creatures –– electric prods, muzzles, whips, and tight collars. This is very painful as they put a wooden stick topped with a pointed hook at the end (called ankus) to teach them ‘tricks’. Although elephant skins are known to be thick, they are smooth and sensitive. On disobeying, the ankus is lashed across their faces,embedded inside the mouth, under the chin, behind the ears, around the feet, and other sensitive body parts. Sometimes, they are beaten simply because they cannot comprehend what trainers want out of theirperformance!
After every show, there are ‘educational rides’ on horse and elephant backs for little children. Is it really educational? Rides and performances do not speak much about their true nature and lifestyle in the wild. The more ferocious or cute ones that draw huge crowds are drugged for clicking photographs. The favourite with kids and adults alike are the Koala bears and the tigers.
Anyway, what are a few bucks compared to these'lifetime memories’ with these tigers and Koalas?Somehow the fact that Koala bears are shy and feel terrorised on being touched is of no significance.
The agony they go through while posing for snaps is immeasurable and often leads to a painful death
The stars in circuses are made to travel as many as 48 weeks a year, but certainly not in five star styles. To reduce the transportation costs, they (performers) are stacked into eighteen-wheelers wherein a minimum space is allocated to each of them.
Elephants who used to walk around 25 miles a day in herds in jungles are bounded in chains for hours without letting them to move even a single step forward or backward.
They have no choice but to eat, sleep, and defecate in chains for more than four days in the same place.Living a life where natural instincts are curbed and crushed and constant confinement is the order of the day led these circus animals into a state of neurosis.Tigers in circus can be seen constantly pacing in the cages and elephants constantly sway back and forth in chains.
These are all symptoms of deep psychological distress, thanks to the fact that we have deprived them of fulfilling their natural instincts and freedom.We want to bloom in all fields of life, but we cage and handicap these animals forever as a hobby or entertainment. An end to animal circuses certainly does not mean an end to fun. There are many circuses that are exciting and entertaining without abusing animals. We should strive to put an end to making acircus of an animal’s life.