I received this comment from a reader:
After Ringling’s visit to Knoxville last year, the kids wanted to know more about elephants, so we did an Internet search and discovered there is an elephant sanctuary right here in our own state, over in Hohenwald,Tennessee. They have a live web cam so we started watching the elephants in a natural setting. We have become big fans of Tara an Asian elephant who adopted a stray dog named Bella and they roam thousands of acres together at The Elephant Sanctuary.
This was where we first learned about what happens to elephants that are forced to perform in the circus, and it is not a pretty picture. In our search we came across pictures of Ringling trainers beating, hooking, jabbing and using a Hot Shot on baby elephants to make them perform circus tricks, we were shocked that this kind of animal abuse occurs in the 21st century.
The kids refuse to go to the circus anymore.
I reviewed the links that she has sent. I’m warning you that they are disturbing, so much so that we won’t be going to the circus. As I told her, the last circus that I went to was Cirque du Soleil, which as you probably know does not use animals. I’ll look forward to taking our daughter to Cirque in the future, but based on this information, we’ve decided not to go to the circus. I have a friend who is from Hohenwald, and will ask whether or not the sanctuary ever allows visitors in hopes that we might be able to see the elephants there.
I have no idea if the practices mentioned are industry wide or not. As with any industry, I’m sure that there are compassionate people and there are those who abuse. I recommend that you make a decision that is right for you.