By Fahmi Eldeen
On February 23, 2018, the United Kingdom finally decided to ban all wild animals from sources of entertainment. After years of complaining, thousands of campaigns, and millions of upset animal lovers, many other developed countries have also acted upon this ban.
However, it still remains a large issue in developing parts of the world, including Southeast Asia.
These acts may seem entertaining and enjoyable at first, but only until you learn the cold truth: the cruelty is hardly shown during the performances, but behind the scenes, these animals are heavily abused.
Elephants balancing on their heads, lions jumping through flaming hula hoops, bears riding a tiny unicycle. These skills were achieved through pain and torture. At the age of three, these animals have already begun their training.
This is the reality of animals in entertainment and educating ourselves is the only solution to this issue.
“Three out of four elephants in south-east Asia’s tourist destinations are living in harsh conditions where they are… tied in chains less than three metres long,” says Naomi Larsson, a writer for the Guardian.
In 2017, after 146 years, Ringling Bros. shut down due to heavy criticism.
In 2018, Ireland banned all wild animals from performing as entertainment.
In 2020, the United Kingdom will be free of animals in entertainment.
Unfortunately, these are only minorities who see the wrongness of animals in entertainment. It is wrong. It is immoral. It is inhumane.
So why can’t we see it too?
I, myself, have jumped onto the back of an elephant. I, myself, have been to many zoos to pet the sleepy tiger. I, myself, was too ignorant to realise how wrong this was.
These animals suffered for years: we receive a few seconds of our pleasure and happiness. If we pay money to see the acts, we are paying money to let them keep going.
It may appear like there’s not much that you can do. As if there’s not much you can do when your child asks to ride the giant elephant. However, you can always raise awareness.
Instead of riding on the back of an elephant, look deep into their eyes and notice the pain and sadness seeping through.
Instead of visiting a circus, where animals are forced to do tasks for our pleasure, visit a sanctuary, where they behave the way they wish.
There are always two different stories about two of the same animal. One lives in the wild, and the other one lives in a cage. One does not perform for humans, and the other one is forced to.
One is always happy, and the other one depends on what you choose to do.
“Moran introduces bill to restrict use of ‘exotic circus animals’.” Washington Times [Washington, DC], 2 May 2014. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A366721655/OVIC?u=60iskl&xid=1842a453 . Accessed 1 Mar. 2018.
“Travelling circuses facing ban on exotic animal acts.” London Evening Standard [London, England], 8 Mar. 2006, p. 17. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A142982477/OVIC?u=60iskl&xid=833770af. Accessed 1 Mar. 2018.
Brown, Victoria. “Abused for Our Entertainment.” Behind The Cage | The Star Online, 2 Feb. 2017, www.thestar.com.my/opinion/online-exclusive/behind-the-cage/2017/02/03/abused-for-our-entertainment-vote-with-your-feet-and-dont-support-wildlife-tourism-activities-that-i/.
Larsson, Naomi. “The Dark Side of Wildlife Tourism: Thousands of Asian Elephants Held in Cruel Conditions.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 6 July 2017, www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/06/thousands-elephants-exploited-tourism-held-cruel-conditions.
DiLonardo, Mary Jo. “U.K. to Ban Wild Animals in Circuses.” MNN – Mother Nature Network, Mother Nature Network, 1 Mar. 2018, www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/uk-ban-wild-animals-circuses.