Thursday, August 9, 2012

What really goes on under the Big Top?

Just down West Hunt Club Road from the OHS shelter, you can see the summit of the Big Top tent. It’s official. The circus is in town. And just like last year, they’ve hauled the elephants along with them.

It’s 2012. We no longer allow bear baiting. We don’t allow dog fights. These cruel and dangerous activities have been relegated to history. So why is an exotic animal circus still condoned by our community?

Circus animals have been trained to do tricks using cruel and inhumane methods, and perform these acts out of fear and submission. Sharp tools, whips, electrical prods, baseball bats and metal pipes are used to train and force the animal to perform. And after the performance, the animals are caged in unnaturally small spaces moving from city to city. 

There is nothing natural about an elephant in a skirt trying to balance on a ball, and by labelling this “entertainment” our community is freely stating that dominating and exploiting animals is acceptable.

In 2002, I represented the OHS with other concerned animal welfare groups as we lobbied Ottawa City Councillors to include the banning of exotic animal entertainment in its new Animal Care and Control Bylaw, citing both human health and safety and animal welfare concerns.

It’s been 10 years, and little has changed. At that time the City agreed to license cruelty, so these circus acts need to fill out some forms and pay the municipality to have the “right” to perform in Ottawa.  

A ticket to the circus costs $20 (or $30 if you want to be as close as possible to the cruelty). The same amount can help us care for a sick, abused, or abandoned animal right here in our own community.

Please take a small step to end animal suffering by saying no to supporting a travelling circus.

Bruce Roney
Ottawa Humane Society Executive Director

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