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I Hate Circuses

April 13, 2010

I don’t consider myself an activist.  It’s not because there aren’t causes I believe in, it’s just that I am usually too busy/lazy to take a proper stand on anything.  But when I believe in something I take a stand in my own way…and if there is one thing that really bothers me it is seeing animals being mistreated. 

A few days ago, while I further weakened my already injured knees by running on the treadmill, I watched the most horrible story about a circus elephant killing a trainer.

To say I was upset after watching this is an understatement.  Call me heartless but while I am sad that the circus worker was killed, I am much sadder for the poor elephant and all the other animals that are trained to do unnatural things.  I am upset that in this day and age animals are still being used in circuses.  I am sad that they live their lives in cages and spend their days being trained to do ridiculous things like turning around in a circle with one leg up.  I am even more upset that people want to see this. 

I remember hearing all the shock and outrage back in February when an orca killed its trainer at Sea World.  But I wonder why we are surprised that a 12,000 pound killer whale finally turned on the person who forced him to do silly tricks for an audience?    Are people still turning a blind eye to the fact that the captivity of these poor animals is literally driving them crazy?

Ali just asked me, “If we don’t have zoos or circuses how will Maya ever see animals up close?”  Well, as far as I am concerned, Maya will either see them in their natural habitat or on tv in the amazing Planet Earth DVD’s my mom gave her.  And she will be a better, more compassionate person for it.  As a person who rarely takes a stand on anything, I have and will continue to take a stand on this: The Din Household will not visit zoos, circuses, or any place that involves captivity of animals. 

The other day we walked past a pet store and Maya said, “Oh Mama, how sad those doggies are in a cage.  They don’t have any space to move around!” 

Sometimes my kid does me proud.  She might cough up a nervous storm while doing it but who am I to judge?

53 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2010 7:22 pm

    I am all for having animals in their free space,but being brown and scared of anything that moves is it bad that I like them in cages? Just so they can’t eat me?

    Feel free to hate me.

  2. actorsdiet permalink
    April 13, 2010 8:17 pm

    i used to be a huge zoo fan but then i went to s. africa years ago and haven’t been back since. maybe things will change when i have a kid, but i dunno…after seeing animals roam free in their natural habitat….

  3. April 13, 2010 8:21 pm

    ive never been to a circus nor do i ever plan to. i think its dumb. simple.

  4. April 13, 2010 9:19 pm

    I’m not sure where I stand on this. As a Mom I don’t want to deprive my child of anything. But at the same time, as an animal lover I hate seeing animals being forced to live in such unorthodoxed environments. I definitely see things differently now through a Mother’s eyes.

  5. April 13, 2010 11:55 pm

    Ugh, I HATE circuses. So much. And petting zoos.

    City zoos, on the other hand, do play a huge part in conservation, and the good ones try really hard to replicate the animal’s habitat. There are some bad ones, but overall I support zoos.

    And I love horseracing. The horses -want- to run, or else they aren’t race horses very long. I kind of roll my eyes when people say that the horse is only running because it’s being whipped…as jockeys only go for their crops in the final stretch and an 1800 pound horse really does not feel that much from a riding crop. Of course, the horseracing industry has plenty of problems right now, but overall I support it.

    So I guess my thoughts on animals in captivity are conflicted. But the best is always an animal in its natural habitat. Planet Earth is amazing!

  6. April 14, 2010 3:13 am It was so refreshing to read this – because i am of the exact same belief as you. It is just terrible, and then everyone gets shocked when something like this happens. People forget they’re working with wild animals. Unpredictable, wild animals, no matter how “harmless” they may be deemed.

  7. traynharder23 permalink
    April 14, 2010 3:18 am

    yeah, that is very sad! i was like, well if you were locked up in a tank and had to keep doing flips just for tiny bits of fish…well i’d lose it too and go mad.

    i don’t go to zoos anymore, but i have before- my mom wanted me to be educated. meh.

    sorry about your knees!

  8. April 14, 2010 3:31 am

    Circuses and zoos are definitely a controversial…odd…thing. They say the “animals love it”…but how the hell do people know that really?

  9. April 14, 2010 3:47 am

    I’m with you on this. When I was little I cried in the pet store because all the puppies were in cages and slept on newspaper. I wanted to take them all home. Zoos–especially smaller ones that aren’t as well-maintains as, say, the San Diego Zoo–are so sad, too. Poor polar bears in 85-degree heat playing on snow-colored concrete.

    Funny story though. One year I asked my husband for tickets to Cirque du Soleil for my birthday. I got Barnum & Bailey’s tickets. We went because we couldn’t return them and it was a pathetic and cheesy experience. We still laugh about that one.

  10. April 14, 2010 3:51 am

    Ohhhh, circuses make me so sad. Zoos do too, but to a lesser extent. I agree with you about the “I can’t believe this happened” aspect– really?!? We lock up enourmous animals from the wild, and can’t believe it when something bad happens?

  11. April 14, 2010 4:19 am

    I love your perspective and your daughter’s perspective on this – she’s so smart!

  12. April 14, 2010 4:34 am

    Ameena, I am SO glad that you wrote this eloquent post – kudos to you for standing up for a very, very important issue! I couldn’t agree with you more – circuses are simply cruel, and I’m shocked that they’re allowed to continue under the guise of entertainment. Bravo to you for setting such a great example and raising a beautifully sensitive, compassionate, caring daughter…

  13. April 14, 2010 4:52 am

    I agree with you on this! Its so sad to me to see what these animals go through. Its against their nature.

  14. April 14, 2010 5:05 am

    One year, my (old) employer- a big, national fund co- had the annual holiday party at a circus. I mean, really?

    Go Maya for realizing that pet stores= no good!

  15. April 14, 2010 5:18 am

    I’m exactly the same way; I won’t go to circuses, zoos, aquariums, or any other place that animals are kept locked up or forced to do unnatural things… I won’t even buy animals from a pet shop.

    It really is funny when, despite how “smart” we are, we freak out and act surprised when animals start acting the way nature intended them to.

    I’m glad you’re passing these kind of values on to Maya 🙂

  16. April 14, 2010 5:26 am

    you have one smart kid 🙂

    although now in my 20s i can see how odd it is to cage up animals i will say that i absolutely LOVED going to the zoo when i was little. there was something magical about seeing all those big animals to me. maybe i should take a trip to the savannah or something now

  17. Danielle permalink
    April 14, 2010 5:30 am

    I totally agree. It’s kind of bizarre really…how humans have tried to re-create natural environments for their own viewing pleasure.

    I wasn’t a fan of circuses because clowns are scary 😕

  18. April 14, 2010 5:45 am

    I agree with you 100%. I have even participated in a protest at a circus once! These animals are not treated well. It breaks my heart.

  19. April 14, 2010 5:48 am

    You raise an extremely valid point (even with the sadness of the trainers and such being killed). An elephant or whale being kept in small spaces and asked to do tricks day in and day out is asking alot. Their acting out should really come as no surprise…

  20. onelittlejill permalink
    April 14, 2010 5:51 am

    I feel like you read my mind. It isn’t that I hate them, I just do not think their morals are in the right place. And I will NEVER take my child. Call it deprivation, but I will not support something I do not believe in! Great post!

  21. April 14, 2010 5:55 am

    I hate clowns, or anything where you can’t see someones real face, like a mascot. I feel so badly for the animals too!

  22. louisianagrown permalink
    April 14, 2010 6:24 am

    Wow, I had never put this much thought into circuses, but I really can’t see myself visiting one after reading this.

  23. April 14, 2010 6:34 am

    Circuses are kind of creapy…I agree.

    I made your indian califlower monday night for dinner. I ate with quinoa and added a little bit of lime = I LOVED it. So easy and quick to make and healthy and yummmy. THANKS for the recipe!

    • April 14, 2010 1:21 pm

      Hi Brittany – so glad that you like the cauliflower. Who would have thought I could actually cook things that people would want to replicate? 🙂

  24. April 14, 2010 6:44 am

    I agree with you on this point. Gosh, it’s hard because I just love zoos! But you’re right- I find it so saddening to see the captivity and often the squalor of the way the animals live. I can’t enter pet stores without my heart sinking as I see the lethargic dogs in their feces infested cages.

    Interesting story though- when I worked on Shutter Island, there is a scene where Leo has to be surrounded by rats so we hired a rat wrangler and these trained professional rats. It was sort of hilarious because the rats had their own trailer, their own rules and regulations, and they were the cleanest, sweetest fluffiest little beings! I suppose they do deserve the royal treatment!

  25. April 14, 2010 7:20 am

    I totally agree with you about the circuses! It’s depraved…the way the animals are treated, especially. I’m more of a “Cirque du Soleil” type of circus girl 🙂
    About the zoos…I don’t have a huge problem with zoos. I think they’re educational, not only for the public, but also for researchers who are trying to protect or learn more about an animal. I get that they’re in captivity so their behavior is different, but I think as long as they’re treated ethically, the way we get to learn about animals is important. That being said, I do think there should be some kind of “zoo reform” to make them even more educational, and to teach the public about why the animals are there and how the zoo is different from a circus.

  26. April 14, 2010 7:57 am

    You are so right. As much as I love animals, I don’t want to go to a circus or zoo and watch them being taken advantage of for human entertainment. It is just so sad.
    And I remember the outrage when the whale killed the trainer, and I just thought, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. I feel very sad for the trainer that died, but seriously, you are taking these intelligent animals and putting them in captivity, placing them in the equivalent of a bathtub and forcing them to do tricks for profit (and obviously not their own profit). It makes me so mad. I’m glad you wrote about this. Thank you Ameena.

  27. whydeprive permalink
    April 14, 2010 8:18 am

    It REALLY bothers me to see the puppies and kittens in cages at the pet store.
    I watch the ads on tv where they show abused animals and always tear up.
    Its not fair.
    My dog was a rescue, and she was beaten. I look at her sweet little face and just cant imagine how anyone could do that to her. The worst part is that they love you regardless. Her tail probably still wagged everytime that bastard came home.

    I wasnt all the surprised by the killer whale thing either. I mean, its supposed to be in the OCEAN. What did they expect to happen?

  28. April 14, 2010 8:34 am

    I’m so glad you posted about this! I had very similar thoughts regarding the Sea World incident. While I’m sad for the trainer, I feel like this was bound to happen being that it’s a KILLER whale. My husband and I decided that we won’t go to a zoo or anything with animals in captivity ever again, if we can help it. I know it can be good to study animals, but can’t we do it in their natural habitat?

  29. April 14, 2010 8:51 am

    Growing up near San Diego, I thought zoos were all happy places where the animals had miles of land to roam and be their cute cuddly vicious selves. But then I moved to Indiana and visited the Indy Zoo. The lions have worn down a single 10-foot strip in their pen down into a rut from nervous pacing, the polar bear does the same flip over and over for hours to cope with depression (“He’s exercising!” exclaim the parents, and the children ooh and ahh)…and elephants are NOT meant to spend half of the year in temperatures less than 40 degrees. Wild Animal Park, fine. Cages, very very bad.

  30. April 14, 2010 8:56 am

    I have never been to a circus and I have only been to the zoo once…maybe that explains why I am not such an animal person. I don’t like the idea of caging animals though….it seems so cruel.

  31. fitandfortysomething permalink
    April 14, 2010 8:58 am

    oh i totally agree. i hate what the poor animals are going through. of course they kill. it breaks my heart 😦

  32. April 14, 2010 8:59 am

    completely agree about animals being kept in captivity! its horribly sad. People acted shocked when something horrible happens to a trainer or something, but people tend to forget that these are still WILD animals thaht dont belong in places like that.

  33. April 14, 2010 9:05 am

    I am not a zoo person at all. I have had friends come and visit us here in Houston and wanted to go to the zoo and I gave them my car keys and said see you when you get back. Never been to the circus nor I plan on going.

  34. April 14, 2010 9:10 am

    i’m sure that there are animals that are taken good care of in zoos, but the truth is, just like people, everyone is better in their own natural habitat.

  35. April 14, 2010 9:47 am

    i’m totally with you on this one! although i do think some zoos do provide some good in their research and bringing attention to endangerment/destruction of a species…hope this will not prevent you from visiting the singapore night zoo 😛

  36. traynharder23 permalink
    April 14, 2010 10:42 am

    LOL! hahahaha i have this nagging feeling that people are starting to REALLY READ because they’re REALLY curious about this B character!

    and D!

  37. April 14, 2010 11:00 am

    OH wow, I so agree with you. Animals break my heart. I mean, I will cry if I see a dead raccoon in the road. And you can imagine what it does to me growing up in a place where half of the men hunt and kill animals for FUN (one of the things I do NOT like about the South). How anyone can mistreat animals, I don’t understand.

  38. lowandbhold permalink
    April 14, 2010 11:45 am

    I totally agree with you on this and I think it’s a GREAT stand to take.

  39. April 14, 2010 12:17 pm

    Kids are naturally so compassionate! It is society that sometimes takes that away from them 🙂

    Good for you for taking this stand.

  40. highonhealthy permalink
    April 14, 2010 5:34 pm

    I too will never visit a zoo, circus or any other place that forces animals to live in captivity and do stupid tricks. Animals aren’t that different from us and I know that I would despise being forced to live like they do.

    It’s sad that the trainers died but in a way, they had it coming to them.

  41. April 14, 2010 5:34 pm

    Such a good post. I have a friend that is so against this stuff she loves animals and is vegan , etc. – she even started a petition and staged a “Strike” against a circus that was coming to her small home-town. I think it still came but it’s amazing her passion and views that really should be put out there.

  42. April 15, 2010 2:47 am

    I used to love going to zoos and circuses when I was younger and didn’t know any better, but as I got older, I started to think about how the animals must feel. I hate being confined – why would an animal like it? So, no circuses for us. Good for Maya!

  43. April 15, 2010 7:44 am

    I really can’t do circus, and the zoo makes me really uneasy (and not just because I always fear the snakes will somehow get loose and swallow me whole). It’s so depressing that, with modern TV and travel opportunities, we somehow still think we need these things.

  44. April 15, 2010 11:13 am

    You are very right Ameena. Since I live in Orlando the killer whale story was all over the news for a couple of days and I was very sad to hear that a trainer was killed. However, I couldn’t help but be angry because it had not been the first time the whale had killed a human being but Seaworld still and will continue to confine these savage animals! We are going against nature by keeping wild animals caged and it shouldn’t be surprising when they do lash out and act “naturally”.

  45. April 15, 2010 12:08 pm

    Pet stores/ the circus/ the zoo make me sad, too… especially because the animals grow up not knowing how to fend for themselves.

  46. April 15, 2010 4:39 pm

    I agree, this is so heartbreaking. I remember a couple years ago when a tiger was being taunted at some zoo and it escaped and I think it attacked someone (I don’t really remember the details), and in the end they killed it. I completely agree about the circus…so, so sad.

  47. April 18, 2010 4:09 am

    I couldn’t agree more!!! Not only are the animals suffering, but they are suffering for stupid cause. I’m sorry but circuses are DUMB. What’s entertaining about watching clowns act “whacky” and flashy dressed people riding big bicycles under a tent? The music is unnerving. The food is disgusting. The animals are stuck. I hated them as a kid and I hate them now! 🙂

  48. February 15, 2012 9:53 am

    The owners of the Steel Pier in Atlantic City were planning to bring back horse diving this summer.

    Sure it be great. It was iconic and nostalgic — making a beautiful and intelligent animal, scare to death, dive from a 40-foot platform into a large bucket /pool of water [like in the cartoons]. And of course, good for tourism.

    Enough people and animal activists said hell no to this. So the owners of Steer Pier changed their minds.

    • February 15, 2012 8:57 pm

      Amazing story, thank you for sharing. It’s good to know that enough people out there feel the same way as I do!

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