“The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, The Basis of Morality
When I was a little boy, my grandparents took me to see Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. From what I remember, it was part of my birthday present that year.
I still recall riding in the back seat of the car filled with excitement. Soon, I had a carton of popcorn in one hand and a bag of cotton candy in the other.
As we made our way to our seats, I was awe struck at how many children were just as excited, just as anxious as I was.
When the lights went down and the performers began emerging from all around the big top, I noticed something less observant children probably didn’t. The animals – the elephants, the horses, the tigers – they didn’t seem happy.
It was at that moment when I realized animals didn’t belong here.
Animal rights – a new day
This weekend Feld Entertainment – owners of the greatest show on earth – said that after 146 years Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus would put on its final performance in May of 2017.
I’ll admit, the little boy inside of me was happy at the closure.
Animals have been exploited for centuries. But in our modern day, progressive society, it’s almost inexcusable that circuses should still be in existence at all.
The efforts of animal rights groups across this country should be applauded. It’s because of their tenacity and persistence that Ringling Bros. is no longer able to profit from animal exploitation.
While there’s still more work to be done, this is a wonderful day for the hundreds of animals who will hopefully find their way to sanctuaries, where they’ll be cared for without having to perform.
Mahatma Gandhi once wrote, “The greatness of nations can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
I’d say we’re on the right track.