Bostonians are stepping back in time after a statue of a lion that has sat atop the city’s Old State House for two centuries was found to contain a 113-year-old time capsule. The contents include news clippings, photographs, and campaign buttons from 1901. After the Bostonian Society has reviewed all of the box’s contents, it will accept submissions for a new time capsule that will be sealed inside the statue, and PETA has the perfect idea.
Since the Ringling Bros. circus is currently performing in Boston and owner Kenneth Feld is well-connected there, PETA is suggesting that the Bostonian Society include a miniature replica of a bullhook—a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp steel hook on the end and is used to force elephants to perform—and a pair of heavy shackles similar to the ones used to keep elephants chained to the floor for most of their lives. PETA also recommended that the group include photos of baby-elephant “training” at Ringling’s compound, which would show how the babies are stretched out, slammed to the ground, and gouged with bullhooks in order to force them to learn confusing, meaningless tricks out of fear of punishment. We also asked that the time capsule include news clippings about the deaths of animals who have suffered on Ringling’s watch, such as Clyde, a lion who died of heatstroke while confined to a boxcar on a train that was crossing the sweltering Mojave Desert.
If people were astounded by what they found in the 1901 time capsule, imagine our descendants’ shock at opening a time capsule from 2014 and discovering that traveling circuses abused baby elephants and forced them to perform for our amusement.
The use of animals in circuses has already been restricted or banned in cities across the U.S. and in countries worldwide, including Bolivia, Greece, Israel, Peru, and Sweden. It’s time for the U.S. to do the right thing and leave a world that we can be proud of for posterity.