I honestly admit I’ve never been a fan of the circus, even well before my son was born. Something about them just isn’t fun for me. Watching wild animals perform, while mesmerizing, seems outlandish and unnatural. And death-defying acts in general always make me anxious and sick to my stomach. I’m no thrill seeker.
When my son was still small, I got free tickets to see Barnum & Bailey, so I figured, “Meh, we should use them.” He’d never been to the circus before and the few zoos we’d frequented–I’m also not a fan of zoos, either–he loved. My son is a cross between Dr. Doolittle and St. Francis of Assisi. But I felt his hand clench as we passed a line of animal rights protestors on our way to the entrance to the coliseum where the performance was to be held. Since he read at an early age, he had seen the picket signs that charged the circus owners with animal abuse and cruelty. It bothered him throughout the performance. And what could I say?
I’ve never been to a circus since. While I am not an animal lover by my son’s definition, I do have concerns about the maltreatment of any species, since I think it’s a big indicator of how cruel we can be to each other. According to The Guardian, the wild animals in circuses bill that should be signed into legislation, will ban the use of any creature not normally domesticated in Great Britain in circuses. Chalk up one for animal rights activists in the UK.