Across the country, there’s no shortage of worthy organizations working for good causes, striving to make life better for humans and other animals.
Not long ago, an animal advocate contacted API for advice. Like many people, the caller was deeply troubled by the mistreatment of animals in circuses, and wanted to take action. She wasn’t exactly sure what she could do, but was considering trying to get her home state to pass a law restricting the use of wild animals in circuses and traveling shows.
It’s official: the holiday hullabaloo has begun! Throughout the autumn months, simply turning on the television or taking a stroll through a local mall means being inundated with celebratory songs, festive decorations, and advertisements promoting that “special something for a special someone.”
The circus is coming to town! This familiar phrase conjures vivid images of amazing acrobats, capering clowns ... and exotic animals. Unlike the human performers who choose to work in circuses, however, exotic animals are forced to take part in the show. They are involuntary actors in a degrading spectacle, forced into an unnatural life.
Imagine you’ve been chained to a tree in a backyard for months, without food or water or any hope of rescue. Imagine you’re at half your ideal body weight, the victim of devastating malnutrition, anemia, calcium deficiency, and stress fractures. Imagine you’ve been beaten with a stick so viciously that you bleed. All for the amusement and profit of others.
In September 2002, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) stunned animal advocates with an about-face in its decision to deny an application by Six Flags Marine World to import two baby Asian elephants from India.
State and local fairs are as much a symbol of America as apple pie and Fourth of July. Traditionally fairs brought communities together to celebrate the bounty of summer and show off the skills of local people through contests and talent shows.
An international spotlight focused on rodeo as controversy raged over the “Olympic Command Performance Rodeo” at the Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Thousands of letters and calls of opposition were received, but the event proceeded as planned. The rodeo cowboys (40 each from the U.S. and Canada) competed for $140,000 in prize monies, unlike the true Olympic athletes, who are forbidden financial gain.
In no other Olympic event are half the participants forced to perform via flank straps, electric prods, raking spurs, twisted tails, pain and fear. Every major animal welfare/rights organization condemns rodeos due to their inherent cruelty, and the terrible message that such a violent activity sends to impressionable young children. It’s high time we acknowledged that human abuse begins with animal abuse.