I still remember being taken to the circus as a kid. One of the things I remember most about the circus were the elephants. I remember how they were dressed up with cloaks and head-dresses. I remember they even put glitter on them! I also remember how those gentle giants performed the cutest tricks (or at least I thought so at the time) with just a small tap on the side from their trainer.
Something I never realised at the time was that those elephants were performing such unnatural and awkward tricks because they had spent countless hours in 'training', being beaten with a hook if they refused to perform. I also never realised till years later, that the glitter that made the elephants all the more spectacular when I was a child was probably hiding 'training' wounds.
Is there any bigger facade than animal circuses? Children watch in innocent amazement as wild animals are dressed up and tormented for their entertainment. I wish I'd known the truth then. I never would have gone along with it.
So yesterday, I was glad to read the headline "Children of All Ages Delighted by Enslavement of Topsy the Elephant" on the front page of the satirical news site, The Onion. This story is at the same time shocking, hilarious and spot on. It's well worth a read...
Here are a few of the best snippets from the article:
"He's such a funny happy elephant," said 8-year-old Madison Helms, referring to the abused creature that spends the majority of his time chained up in a cramped, feces-covered enclosure. "He loves being in the circus!"
"Look, they're dancing," said 5-year-old Jonah Meeks, mistaking the elephants' constant swaying for something that wasn't a maladaptive behavior caused by serious psychological trauma. "I can dance like an elephant, too. Look at me!"