Top Ten Reasons to Go to Ringling Circus

Published by PETA.

So a little while back, we had this brilliant idea for a web feature, which was going to be called “PETA’s Top 10 Reasons to Go to Ringling Circus.” The idea was that it would secretly be, like, 10 reasons not to go, except cleverly disguised in a different format. Or something. I don’t remember exactly—but I do remember that the meeting where we discussed it was really fun, and people were laughing a lot. Unfortunately, once the hilarity had died down and we actually wrote up the text, it just didn’t come out quite right—turns out it may have been one of those “you had to be there” type of things. It seemed like a shame to just let the feature die though, so I bravely volunteered to post it right here on this very blog. Just don’t blame me if you don’t think it’s funny.

Anyway, here it is. Ten PETA points to anyone who posts a comment with a reason that’s better than ours. Who knows, maybe it’ll mean salvation for this feature.

P.S. PETA points don’t really exist.

10. Even the dullest show on earth is more exciting than your pitiful life.

9. Get a life! Animal abuse and domination is not entertainment or education. You can enjoy modern circuses that don’t use ho-hum animal acts, such as Cirque Du Soleil. Or come up with some great old-fashioned family entertainment, such as a day trip to a museum or nature preserve or family picnic at a local park. Or God forbid you actually do something active with your kids, like roller skating or a hike!9. Coming from a broken family, you feel right at home among the animals who have been ripped from their families.

8. Baby elephants as young as 1 years of age are torn from their mothers to be broken, trained, and sent out on the road. Four baby elephants born at Ringling’s breeding compound have died since 1998. One fractured both hind legs when he fell from a circus pedestal, another drowned trying to escape a trainer, another got sick and died on the road and one died when she was just a few weeks old.8. You want to show your kids where they’ll end up if they don’t do well in school.

7. Convicts and Criminals and Felons, oh my! From Ringling head elephant trainer Sacha Houcke (who was fined for beating his daughter) to Spanky the Clown (child pornography) to a murderer on parole and an acrobat arrested for sexual battery – Ringling’s had them all. Can you say “The Most Unsavory Show on Earth?”7. You want to teach your kids demeaning of life.

6. Teaching kids about wild animals by taking them to the circus is like teaching them about sex by showing them porno movies. The circus teaches your kids that chaining, caging, whipping and beating animals is acceptable – a bad lesson considering that learning and development experts stress that “Children should see adults treating animals with dignity and respect at all times.” 6. You think $40 on sno-cones is money well-spent.

5. You won’t be alone if you stay home instead of going to the Ringling Circus. Attendance at circuses is down while prices for concessions – sno-cones, soft drinks, programs and kids’ toys are way up. Plan on squandering several hundred dollars for a family of four to visit the circus this year.5. It’s like When Animals Attack meets Russian roulette!

4. At least 12 humans have been killed and more than 100 injured in the U.S. by rampaging elephants. An elephant in a circus traveling in Hawaii killed her trainer and injured another circus worker – it took 87 shots from pistols, rifles, and high powered weapons to stop her. Other elephants have injured and killed trainers and spectators. Are you sure you want to enter your family in the Death-by-Elephant Lottery by going to the circus?4. If you don’t help the circus owner pay his fines and legal fees for animal abuse who will?

3. Ringling management forked over $20,000 to settle charges for the death a baby elephant who was forced to perform while sick; $51,305 in legal fees in a PETA lawsuit; and more fines may be on the way with multiple investigations open by the USDA and a lawsuit for violating the Endangered Species Act.3. You believe that an elephant trainer who beat his daughter would be kind to animals.

2. Ringling head elephant trainer Sacha Houcke pled guilty in May 2005 for beating his own daughter. Lucky for his daughter that Sacha didn’t use the same bullhook on her that he frequently uses on elephants.2. You think that 2000 years in captivity isn’t nearly long enough to understand elephants’ need for vast spaces.

1. Elephants have been exhibited in captivity since before the birth of Christ. Despite Ringling’s claims of education and conservation, there are fewer elephants in the wild today than ever before and those in captivity often die prematurely from health problems caused by a lack of space. While most of Ringling’s elephants were captured in the wild, none of the baby elephants born at its breeding compound can ever be released into the wild because they won’t know how to survive.1. You’re a sucker, plain and simple

P.T. Barnum allegedly said “there is a sucker born every minute.” He might have been talking about people who spend good money to see animals abused at the circus (and pay for those $13 ‘souvenir’ programs).

Did you get this far? Congratulations! Remember, 10 precious PETA points for every reason you can come up with that’s better than ours. Don’t everybody shout at once.

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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