Next time you go to the circus, don't bring any peanuts....
According to this article at CNN, legislators in Maine are working to ban elephants from any circuses that visit the area. The concern is that these animals, frequently used as "beasts of burden" to erect and then tear down structures used in the circus are being mistreated. I don't mean to sound cynical, but the following quote from the article is taken from the brainchild of this legislation. It made me consider this as a well-intended but utterly misguided effort:
"Elephants belong in the jungle, not the parking lot at the Maine Mall," said Regan Muse, 7, who convinced her father, state Rep. Christopher Muse, to introduce the legislation.
"What she said to me when she told me she did not want to go to the circus because elephants should be free, that really impressed me," Muse said. "Because at first, I chuckled like I am sure many of you did, but this is not funny. These animals should not be abused, they should not be beaten, but they are."
So let me get this straight... Dad had this brought to his attention by his daughter, so it's time to put Maine's collective foot down against elephant abuse? What about tigers, bears, monkeys, jaguars, pumas and all the other animals that are on display and performing in a circus? Does she think they never get abused? She doesn't think they deserve to be free? I applaud her concern, but I really start to question the logic behind this when you realize how these other questions are beyond the scope of this little girl's concern, or her father's.
This article demonstrates a prime case of our government failing to truly represent the people, (just immediate family members) and seems to indicate that a lot of the lawmakers have no real understanding of the depth of the issue(s) at hand, nor any type of vision outside of "tunnel." Not to mention it provides an exquisite example of "knee jerk legislation."
Thankfully the author of the article took the time to at least get the other side of the story, and provided a balanced report by mentioning that, for example, "Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey has never been cited under the Animal Welfare Act for abuse, neglect or mistreatment..." The spokesperson for RB/B&B, Todd Willens, is quoted as saying ""This legislation is just not warranted.""