Breaking elephants’ spirits

As the circus comes to town, here’s something you should know

The author hosts the Sentients show on KZFR 90.1.

Imagine, if you will, being a child. You’re about 3 years old and, naturally, very attached to your mother. She is there by your side, day and night. Then suddenly, your mother is not herself. She’s been drugged. You’ve been taken away from her, and that’s when “the crush” begins.

You are trapped inside a wooden cage so small in size that you can’t move your legs or your body. Inside this box, day and night, you are beaten without mercy. Men crowd around you and beat you with sharp objects. Your legs are chained up, and all you can do is cry out and hope that your mother can hear you. But she can’t. She has been taken so far away that she can’t hear you. She knows you’re gone, but she doesn’t know where you are. She grieves.

In the meantime, the abuse continues. It’s been … weeks. You have never been so hungry and thirsty in your entire life. Where is your mother? Has she forgotten about you? Metal hooks are gouged into your ears and into the most sensitive areas of your body. You can’t move. You’re exhausted, and there’s nowhere you can turn.

You give up. All hope is lost. You stop fighting. Your spirit is broken, and you don’t even remember what it felt like to be caressed by your mother’s gentle touch.

You are an elephant, and you will spend the rest of your life confined and tortured.

All elephants that come to the United States to perform in circuses go through “the crush.” The Thai word used to describe “the crush” means “spirit breaker” in English. That is exactly what it does.

Next week, Piccadilly Circus is coming to perform at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds. They have elephants, just as I described, that will be there performing.

Circuses pose great risk to the safety of your children. Many of you have heard about animals going on rampages after being held captive for years and years. What makes the animals in Piccadilly Circus so different? Nothing.

Instead of taking your family to the circus, take them to an animal sanctuary, such as PAWS in Galt. They have animals that they have rescued from circuses and zoos, and you can see them in a more natural habitat. If you believe that crush boxes and circuses are cruel, the answer is right in front of you: Don’t support them.