No Ringling for My Family

Child Holding "I'm an Elefriend -- I Won't Go to the Circus!" SignFar too soon for my taste, my little boy is cruising around the house—walking, running, tripping, and falling into just about everything I wish he’d stay away from. Yesterday, he got his first bloody nose, and it just about broke my heart. I imagine I’m not alone in wanting to shield my kid from pain, whether that’s a minor head wound or the worst the world has to offer, which is why I’ll never, ever take him to an animal circus.

PETA released an undercover investigation ofRingling Bros. circus a couple of weeks ago. The footage was deeply disturbing. Elephants, many of whom were ripped from their homes in the wild only to spend decades crammed into boxcars, chained for hours and hours every day, forced to breed and then bear the pain of having their babies taken away … these sensitive, intelligent animals are whipped, beaten, and screamed at by Ringling employees. Again and again, handlers and trainers sink the sharp points of heavy metal bullhooks into elephants’ tender skin, often just minutes before the elephants go on stage. Night after night, the venue changed, but the beatings and intimidation didn’t.

There are so many cruelty-free alternatives to circuses with animals and so many better ways to spend time with our children: take a nature walk, have a game night at home, volunteer at a wildlife rehabilitation center, or visit an animal-free circus featuring willing human performers, like Circus of the Kids or Circus Finelli. And talk your kids (and to other moms and dads!) about why you won’t visit Ringling when it comes to town.

If your child’s school plans a field trip to the circus every year, talk with your child’s teacher and the principal about the violence inherent in animal circuses and urge them to consider alternatives. I know I won’t be able to protect Isaiah from every bad thing, but there are decisions I can make as a parent to help him grow into a kind, compassionate man. Avoiding circuses that use and repeatedly abuse animals is just one small step I can take toward that goal.

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  • Emily Jacobs commented on August 31, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    The circus is such a poignant part od being a kid–who knew such cruelty and evil could be apart of something so seemingly magical. I will not ever attend a circus with animals, and when they come to town you can bet I will be there educating parents as to why they shouldn’t either!

  • Linda Poisson commented on August 31, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    I know now that l will never take my grandchild to a circus that has animals. I am now aware of how the animals are treated and l tell everyone l know about what happens to the elephants and caged animals at a circus. I hope that one day the Ringling Bros. is forced to close down, or go animal free. Everyone out there, please do not go to this circus, they abuse and should be jailed for this!!

  • Carla Mellander commented on September 5, 2009 at 4:03 am

    Why is the humane society closing their eyes to this. Imagine if we caught someone doing this to a dog or cat. They would face jail time. How can this be stopped now? Perhaps writing to our congresswomen may be a start.

  • William Spring commented on September 6, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    I have joined PETA and other animal groups after seeing the abuse of our precious animals. I am also going to retire and my wife and I are going to open our own pet sitting business, so pets can stay in their own homes when their guardians are away. They deserve no better. I was shocked to learn how Ringling Brothers Circus treats their elephants and other animals. Who would ever have thought this was happening? These circus empoyees beat the elephants with bull hooks back stage before the performances, and then parade them into the rings with their costumes and smiles for all the audience to see (I am referring to the circus employees, of course). How very sad. I no longer will attend their circus, and will take part in any demonistrations against the circus when the opportunity arises. We need to do everything we can to support our animal friends, as they cannot defend themselves. I look forward to being a pet sitter and an animal rights activist. GOD BLESS THE ANIMALS!!!!

  • Rosemarie Sardinas Herrera commented on September 7, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    The suffering of animals in a circus for man’s amusement must come to an end now!
    Me and my family never visited a circus with animals and never we will!!
    Too many people are unconcious about the suffering of this animals, they are laughing and applauding, not thinking and feeling anything for this poor animals! How sad is this!

  • karen g commented on September 7, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    We could really use your support on opening night in Everett, esp as a mother who has made the decision not to take her children.
    Sept 10th opening night 2009

  • Lynn commented on September 17, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    When my son was 4 (he is 12 now) I took him to ringling bros circus in Denver, CO at the Denver convention center. On my way in, these people were handing out pamphlets about the cruelty the circus puts elephants and other animals through fo our entertainment. My family and I have never attended since, and I want to be one of those people handing out flyers to people walking in. Thank you PETA for opening my eyes al those years ago.

  • maria commented on September 21, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    I was so disgusted to see the footage of the cruelty to those poor animals.I can’t believe that as a child my parents spent money on the circus. Animal cruelty makes me sick.I so hope that people develope sympathy for all animals.