I am an elephant.
There is no evidence to suggest I was put on this earth to do anything other than live my life freely
just like you.
I am an elephant.
I roam the land in of Asia and Africa.
I am smart and affectionate.
I communicate, form friendships, and mourn the loss of loved ones.
In the wild, I walk more than 20 miles a day with my family and remain with my mother my entire life. These are my natural instincts.
I am an elephant. The people who seek to profit off of me in the circus will tell you I enjoy a life of captivity even though I am deprived of all these natural instincts and torn from my mother as a baby.
They will even tell you I’m happy. Common sense tells you otherwise. I don’t belong in American arenas and parking lots.
As an unwilling participant in the circus, I’m forced to perform tricks that are unnatural to me.
I’m stuck with a bullhook when I refuse to perform. My skin may look thick and tough but it is thin. It has the same tenderness as a horse’s skin. Trainers poke me in the most sensitive parts under my trunk and legs to force me to obey their orders.
I don’t want to do these tricks because I don’t understand them.
When I refuse, I am beaten into submission so I will perform for you. What you call “The Greatest Show On Earth” is my living nightmare of confinement and abuse.
I’m kept in a cage with barely enough room to turn around.
My front and back legs are shackled in chains so I am unable to move.
I am an elephant. I am forced to eat, sleep, and defecate in trailers where I spend days traveling from city to city. It is dark and lonely. How could anybody find my treatment acceptable? How could anybody who learns about the atrocities of the circus continue to support the industry?
Circus employees break my spirit as a vulnerable baby so unsuspecting parents can pay to see me perform.
They are largely unaware of the violent training sessions with ropes, bullhooks, and electric shock prods.
People think I enjoy being in the circus. I do not. I enjoy being in the wild.
Circus trainer Tim Frisco was caught on videotape during the training of an elephant saying: “Sink that hook into ‘em…when you hear that screaming then you know you got their attention…Right here in the barn. You can’t do it on the road…I’m not gonna touch her in front of a thousand people…She’s gonna fucking do what I want and that’s just fucking the way it is.” Now you know what life is like for me in the circus.
Why do I endure such pain and suffering? So you and your children can see me do tricks.
Even though you could have the same amount of fun seeing people do tricks who are willing participants earning a living.
I am an elephant. I live a life of constant confinement and frustration. I sway back and forth, a result of the anguish I feel from not being able to exercise my natural instincts. Boredom often causes me to engage in self-mutilation.
How could any decent human being look at these images and not be indelibly saddened and outraged? Not speak on our behalf? Not boycott the circus? What kind of person knowingly supports an industry that abuses animals? Say no to the circus. Say yes to compassion for animals. Let us live freely in the wild.
If there are other options that entertain people, have proven to be wildly popular and profitable, and don’t involve inflicting such terrible cruelty to animals – how could you not advocate for them? I want to be free.
I want to live my life in my natural habitat.
What you allow to happen to me is a reflection of your values and your compassion. You can dismiss my life and argue that because you can’t stop injustice everywhere, you will stop it nowhere or you can take a stand.
I am an elephant. Without your help, I have no hope.
Please don’t let my captors do this to me. Send a message to the world – be a hero to billions of defenseless animals and compassionate people – pave the way for a revolution of kindness to animals – boycott the circus.
I am an elephant.
Andrew Kirschner, Ed.D., is a volunteer grassroots animal rights advocate and the organizer of the 2013 Florida March Against Cruelty to Animals. He writes a zero-profit blog, Kirschner’s Korner, to help raise awareness about issues affecting the global community to make the world a more humane place. To receive Dr. Kirschner’s new articles via email, enter your email in the “Follow Blog Via Email” link at the top right of the blog.