Sunday, January 19, 2003

Lions and tigers, oh my.

The circus is coming to town.

Well, it's already here, parked just five minutes drive from my house. Took a look today and I was appalled with the living conditions of the circus animals.

There's an elephant that's chained to one place. It continually rocks to and fro, without moving its feet. There's no shelter from the elements and the curious crowd.

Three tigers and two lions are kept in a shipping container, under the hot sun. Only one side is opened. The two cat species are separated by bars, in rooms no more than 2.5 m by 2.5 m. There's no bedding of some sort. The container is parked on a very small parking lot, where cars drive by. There are no barricades surrounding the container, encouraging large crowds to gather. I figure the way it's set up is to attract visitors to the circus when it opens next weekend.

I'm no bleeding animal activist, but I was pretty horrified to watch the elephant being hit very hard several times with a bar of some sort (too far to tell) by its trainer because it didn't hold its leg up long enough for the trainer to clamber on. Even when the trainer finally got on the elephant, he would occasionally hit the elephant over the head with the bar.

I called the secretary of the local SPCA and informed her about it. I'm going there again tomorrow with her.

It's an international circus, with an impressive "royal" European name. However, most of its performers come from different parts of the world. Did some digging on Google and according to this site, a litter of tiger cubs were born while the circus was touring Taiwan, only to be eventually sold in the country. Who knows where the cubs ended up to? To be sold as ingredients for traditional medicine? Should these circus cats be breeding in the first place?

Naturally, I'm boycotting the circus, and I encourage my friends to do the same. And whatever the SPCA decides to do, I'm giving my full support. I just hope that they will do something. It's so difficult here to voice out an opinion against an event that has already been given a stamp of approval by politicians.


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