There was a time in human history when the enslavement and torture of others was a common, acceptable practice. For a price, it was possible to legally and legitimately steal an individual from their homeland…away from family, friends, autonomy, and hope. Yet today, while these practices still occur across the globe, they are maligned and illegal. Those that engage in these behaviors often end up behind bars. Yet, when it comes to the enslavement of other species, many still turn a blind eye.
Animals forced into circus life endure repeated and prolonged suffering. Sharp hooks, whips, tight collars, and electric prods are used to force the animals into doing unnatural postures like standing on their hind legs or performing synchronized movements. Elephants, who would ordinarily travel for tens of miles with their families each day, are chained and unable to walk but a few feet or even to interact with others. Big cats, resistant to move under duress, are dragged around by the heavy chains that bind them and whipped when they do not comply.
The animals that appear in the circuses like Ringling Bros. are prisoners in a world not of their choosing. They “perform” out of fear of retaliation, of further torture, out of necessity. They travel for thousands of miles in immense discomfort, enduring endless trauma in their confinement, and putting everyone who comes into contact with them at risk. These animals are mere commodities to the multimillion-dollar circus industry; their “caregivers” are their jailers.
Please join us in requesting that Deschutes County Fairgrounds ban cruel circuses like Ringling Bros. Circus from their facility. The families of Central Oregon expect and deserve entertainment that does not involve the abuse of wild animals.
Joel Christian Lancaster, Bend
Emma Clifford, Bend
Paula von Weller, Bend
Adam Sugalski and Carrie LeBlanc, Circus Protest
Ringling Bros. Circus, for example, has a history of abuse. In 2011, Ringling’s poor treatment of their animals resulted in a $270,000 fine by the USDA for numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act, the largest ever in circus history. Nearly 30 elephants, including four babies, have died since 1992 in Ringling’s “care”. Numerous undercover videos of their training facilities have revealed elephants being beaten, babies ripped from their mothers, and elephants standing in solitude, chained by their feet with no water or ability to interact with others.
Central Oregon prides itself on being a family and animal friendly region. Allowing circuses utilizing wild animals to perform in our community is a disgrace, and I hope that the board of Deschutes County Fairgrounds will choose morality over profit by banning any and all such businesses from renting your facility.