Circus animals can stay if treated well

Somebody call the cops — animals are being used in circus acts. Arrest every clown, magician, acrobat and ringmaster involved.

Here’s a better idea: animals can still perform and have protection without ruining some of the good things people grew up with.

“If you were given the option to roam free or be caged (and) perform on call, the question that you should ask yourself is this: would you be happy?” said animal- lover Melissa Tiburcio in an email interview. “These animals aren’t given such an option. It comes down to your individual point of view.”

Some people, including animal rights groups, think all circuses are guilty of some form of animal cruelty.

“Mammals such as tigers, bears and elephants are forced into docile roles for human entertainment in circuses in manners that cause severe anxiety and psychological mayhem,” said Chair and Associate Professor of Religious Studies Eric Mortensen, who specializes in animals in religion, in an email interview.

However, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey not only deny these claims but defend the way they care for the animals. There has been a lot of talk about how inhumanely the bull hook, or ankus, is used in the handling of elephants.

According to US News and World Report, the tool is approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Humane Association and the Elephant Managers Association. Highly trained professionals use it to extend the arm of the elephant’s handler.

 On tour, Ringling Bros. has a full-time veterinary staff who help provide the medical care needed for the animals, and they have a conservation area and breeding grounds where they retire the animals.

With the efforts of these areas and the veterinary staff they have in their employ, Ringling Bros. proves that they know what they’re doing to properly take care of every animal used for their performances.

“Kids love to see the tricks that the animals and showmen perform,” said Greensboro local Bill Horton. “(Animal rights groups) would be happy if no animals were ever used for any entertainment purposes.”

Despite Ringling Bros. pleading not guilty to any claims relating to animal abuse, they decided in 2015 to retire the elephants.

For many animal rights groups this is the first step in the right treatment for animals; however, they still want to eliminate the use of animals from circus life all together.

Aside from costing the livelihood of many people, this would be a blow to anyone who loves to see a circus. The first thing kids would want to see at a circus would be the animals.

Is there a way that we can find a compromise? Can people still see the show they expect to see, and the animals have all the necessities that qualify for a good life?

As a circus and animal lover, I’ve considered both sides and have come to the following proposition. I don’t approve of animal cruelty. But I feel as long as the outfits know how to treat these animals, a reasonable compromise could be found so that people can enjoy circus entertainment, with all it implies, and the animals can receive proper treatment and care.