Friday, 20 January 2017
Today Ringling, tomorrow your horse, dog, cat and Big Mac
The announcement of Ringling Bros circus closing this year, makes it an apt juncture to re-read the words of tiger tamer Thomas Chipperfield in the Times, above. (Click on the image and it should come up big enough to read)
The end of Ringling has been claimed as a victory by animal rights campaigners. It was their lobbying that led to the legislation in key American cities like Los Angeles that made travelling with an animal show as big as Ringling untenable - and it was when they took the elephants out of the show that people stopped buying tickets.
But where will the victory lead?
As Chipperfield points out, circuses have only ever been the thin end of the wedge. The animal rights movement is an ideology that wants to outlaw zoos, horse riding, pet ownership, meat eating, leather and even wool production. Peta is open about it, although no one seems to listen, or maybe care.
Perhaps one day, when it's their dogs and cats and Big Macs at stake, the world will remember that a lion tamer tried to warn them that it was about much more than circuses all along.
And that the elephants that disappeared from Ringling last year were really canaries in a coal mine.
For more on the issues of animals in the circus, read Circus Mania - The Ultimate Book for Anyone who Dreamed of Running Away With the Circus. Click here to read the reviews on Amazon.