‘The Onion’ Posts a Brilliant Circus Smack-Down

Published by PETA.

Looks like somebody over at The Onion has been surfing the PETA Files. Catch the satirical newspaper’s spot-on skewering of elephant acts, with descriptions of a “hooked rod,” “cramped, feces-covered enclosure,” and “constant beatings.” They even picked up on the fact that the only male elephants used in circuses are youngsters, because once they reach adolescence, they become too aggressive to be controlled—despite the constant threat of being whacked with a bullhook (or, perhaps, because of it).

As usual, The Onion‘s parody so closely parallels reality that it can bring tears of laughter and sorrow. Take this gem:

“Look, they’re dancing,” said 5-year-old Jonah Meeks, mistaking the elephants’ constant swaying for something that wasn’t a maladaptive behavior caused by serious psychological trauma. “I can dance like an elephant, too. Look at me!”


Amy n Rob / CC by 2.0


The folks at The Onion obviously do their research, but is it possible that they are also psychic? Their circus send-up was published just days before peta2 launched its brand new “Elephants Never Forget” campaign today. Coincidence?

Written by Alisa Mullins

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind