Well, sanity has prevailed at Feld Entertainment, owners of Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey’s Circus. They have at long last retired the troupe of performing elephants - at least they will be by 2018- and will live out their lives in a reserve in Florida where the company’s other off duty elephants live.
While we could say ‘what took so long?’ maybe it is better to be grateful that Feld Entertainment finally saw the light at all, although they did have plenty of people around shining flashlights until they got the message. A spokeswoman sighted conservation efforts of the Asian Elephant rather than public opinion as the reason for the move which I have to believe is an unbelievable explanation to even the most uninformed anti- ‘tree hugging’ individuals. However, I’m not that concerned with how it happened, this change of heart, just that it did.
Even if we do not consider the physical part of a nomadic animal confined to what amounts to a closet, even if we do not look into abusive ‘training’ tactics, we still are left with a very social animal with incredibly close family ties being separated from the rest of her or his family. That in itself is enough to make a person question if the ends justify the means. I think the answer is rather obvious. However, I have been labeled a ‘tree-hugging, bleeding heart liberal with ridiculously over-emotional tendencies’, so maybe others see it different. These are not domestic animals that actually long for human companionship, these are wild beings that want to be with their own kind. They make the wild places wild.
The move makes me very happy though, whatever the reason. I like to think the human species is slowly becoming more enlightened to our place in the natural world, to what we can do to make the world a better place for all the beings that we share our lives with, to understand we are not the only species living on it and all animals, including ourselves, have an important place that keeps Mother Earth balanced and healthy. That is a win-win.
Now if Feld Entertainment and others using wild animals for entertainment can dissolve all of their animal acts, we will be well on our way. Then the 'light' will shine for all The Divine's creatures.