Four Reasons Why I Won’t Take My Kids to the Circus
By Kathy Guillermo
Like every mother‚ I want to raise children to be strong‚ confident‚ and compassionate. I want my kids to understand that the choices that we make may affect others in profound ways and that we must be especially careful not to harm—or support others who harm—those who are defenseless. Just as we would never hit or yell at our dog‚ Jenny‚ we would never support cruelty by going to the circus.
When other mothers ask me about this‚ I tell them the following:
Circuses chain‚ cage‚ and hurt animals. Even if the audience doesn’t see it‚ we know that elephants are shackled for their entire lives‚ beaten by handlers who want to establish dominance‚ and separated from their families. Animals in circuses can’t make even one decision about their own lives. They live and travel in caged squalor.
Children identify with animals. Like animals in the circus‚ children are completely at the mercy of stronger beings. If they see animals who are being humiliated and forced to perform unnatural acts‚ they get the message loud and clear that it is acceptable to bully weaker beings.
What children really want is time with their families. Having fun with their parents and siblings is what matters—and there are so many great activities that are both fun and humane. Toddlers love shows such as Dora Live and those put on by The Wiggles‚ while my school-age kids want to go to science and art museums and attend baseball games. Even a simple game night at home can be a wonderful‚ warm experience.
There are better ways to learn about animals than going to the circus. Volunteer at a wildlife rescue center‚ or check out a great documentary about animals in their own homes. Visit Elephants.com and see—via live video feed—elephants who now live in a spacious sanctuary after being rescued from circuses and zoos.