vegansaurus!

04/12/2010

Same day, different giant wild animal in captivity  »

Only two months ago, a killer whale in Orlando killed a trainer. Only a few days ago, an elephant trainer in the Shrine circus was killed by an elephant in Pennsylvania. Just like with the killer whale attack, this is not the first time an elephant in captivity has gone off on someone; it happens with quite a bit of regularity. There are rampages with some frequency and about one trainer a year dies in the U.S., making it one of the most dangerous professions in the world (when you look at how few elephant trainers there are—it’s MATH, jerks! Ever heard of it?). If you’ve never seen an elephant throw a tantrum, that shit is scary. I watched a few videos, because I’m basically a professional reporter, and it’s NUTS. They don’t just storm off and leave a path of destruction in their wake, it’s more like a psycho, OCD pastry chef that just can’t get the cannoli right. An upset elephant will knock a person over and then roll them back and forth over and over again with their trunk, occasionally dropping down on them with their head or knees. Jeez louise, just writing that freaked me out! Like I said: shit is scary.

As scary as this is, there’s a very simple explanation: elephants shouldn’t be in captivity, dummies! It’s like this thing I heard somewhere, “wild animals can be trained, but they can’t be tamed.” What does that mean? Take a look at Pet Monkey Info’s testimonial page and you’ll see—actually, don’t because it’s gross. People’s cute little pet monkeys have been GOING TO TOWN on them. Apparently pet monkeys DO NOT FUCK AROUND. And neither, as it appears, do elephants.

My reasons for opposing elephants and other animals in circuses are simply because they abuse the shit out of them. And ELEPHANTS, lord, the elephants! I love them so much! Unlike gang-banger killer whales (ask Laura), elephants are lovely, emotional beings. Normally a baby elephant will stay with its mom for up to 10 years; circuses removed them from their mothers at age two to can “train” them—which is to say, torture them and break their spirit until they are terrified into doing ridiculous, painful stunts. Good lord, there are some straight-up awful videos out there documenting elephant abuse in circuses. Some are pretty much unwatchable (do not click unless you want to be burdened with these disturbing images documenting depths of cruelty we are capable of), while others aren’t going to murder your heart but still get the point across. For me, it’s just the worst. Like, I’ll see one of these videos and not leave my house for two days because I can’t stand to look at another wretched human. There is so much animal cruelty out there but the circus elephant stuff, that basically incapacitates me. Everyone must have something that just hurts them a little more than everything else, right? I just love the damn elephants! Do you know that they mourn their dead? They are amazing.

I don’t know what will happen to the elephant that killed the trainer in this instance but we know what happened to Dumbo’s mom. This makes me cry every time:

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