View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Circus Circus

Jonathan over at the Mangled Cat has a nice piece about a 15-year-old girl who thinks that circus animals acts are cruel. I'll admit, there's something a little sad about them. It's one thing for the shepherds to be doing their thing over at the Stock Show, another thing for an elephant to dance.

Animals have instincts, not rich inner lives full of imagination and deep life-fulfilling aspirations. The tiger that took off after Roy wasn't looking for a lateral transfer - he was reverting to instinct. Certainly it's not part of any bear's instinctual makeup to tango. But they also seem pretty adaptable. An elephant wasn't meant to dance, but he's probably not going back to the dressing room thinking he was meant for better things. You can't waste an animal's life in the same sense that you can waste a person's life. My lab's life, by his standard, is a waste, since he's not out retrieving ducks. But I don't see him complaining or launching petition drives to free the labs.

At least the ones in the circus get to do something. It's much sadder for me to walk through a zoo and see the animals pacing around in their cages. Is unending boredom cruelty? Probably, which helps account for the San Diego Zoo's enduring popularity. About that, I can only suggest that we need to do the best by them that we can. Not everyone can afford acres of faux-jungles and faux-savannah. But zoos should at least try to strive for providing more than a taxidemist could.

As for the 15-year-old, I wonder what she thinks of this?

Blogarama - The Blog Directory
help Israel
axis of weevils
contact us
site sections