Thursday, February 07, 2008

No getting around it: Elephants are abused

Letters you published Feb. 1 and 5 and Sgt. Tim Davison's views as expressed in Katherine Kersten's Feb. 6 column show a great deal of ignorance about the Circus Reform Amendment issue, on both moral and pragmatic grounds.

Davison seems to indicate that a back-stage pass to the circus would help in some way to inform the issue. This is nonsense, as the cruelty that is at the very heart of the issue itself could have, and likely would have, occurred during the elephants' training, and not backstage during the circus.

I don't think anyone disputes that elephants undergo cruel treatment during training. This means that those opposed to or embarrassed by the amendment must hold one of two positions.

The first position is that cruelty is not a concept which can be applied to animals, so there's no need to protect them from that which they cannot feel. People who hold this position must believe that cruelty and kindness are concepts reserved for people, and not animals.

The other remaining position is that the cruel treatment of elephants is justified by the rewards or gains to our society or children. It's true that some revenue, resulting indirectly from this treatment of the elephants, is used for the benefit of children and our society. However, this assumes that the revenue and benefits require the status quo, which is false, since the same benefits could be obtained by other measures. At a minimum, this argument fails pragmatically, since it's unreasonable to argue that only through whipping helpless elephants can we "help the children."

Let's show our future generations what it is to be kind, and not what it is to abuse and exploit for gain.



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