Guest Blogger – Kaitlin Becker – Unchained
Kaitlin Becker is a graduate student from the University of Central Missouri pursuing her degree in Mass Communication. Having previously graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a Bachelor’s degree in Digital Media Production and a minor in photography, Kaitlin is interested in understanding stories.
In my previous post, I spoke about how ivory poaching is destroying the elephant population. While that is by far the greatest of their problems, it is not the only problem facing elephants currently. Many wild elephant herds are being destroyed by loss of habitat and human interactions.
But what about those elephants in captivity? Are they safe?
Made by Carol Buckley, the Founder and CEO of Elephant Aid International and the Co-Founder of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, this trailer for the upcoming film “Unchained”, a documentary about the treatment of elephants in captivity, specifically the circus industry is both terribly sad and eye-opening. While the trailer definitely seems very one-sided on the topic, it makes me feel guilty.
Because, you see, I remember going to see the circus when it came into town – I loved watching the elephants. They move so gracefully for such large animals! And, yes, I was a child and didn’t know, but still…I helped in the torture of these animals by supporting circuses.
Design/photo credit : Kaitlin Becker Fact: http://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-circus-animal-abuse
Many times circus trainers use whips, electric prods, and chains to force the animals to perform – perform in such a way that these animals would not normally act (such as tigers jumping through fire…tigers are naturally afraid of fire). According to the article “Enjoy the Circus? The Animals Don’t”, circus animals spend about 96% of their lives in cages or in chains. A life of captivity for an elephant equals shackles often not longer than five feet in length. Elephants are large creatures – large creatures that need space. In the wild, elephant herds often have 2,300 square-miles to roam.
Among the anti-elephant torture and anti-circus backlash that has risen in the last couple years, several companies have tried to fix their image. In May of 2016, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus retired all of the elephants used in their shows to an elephant sanctuary in Florida.
As of 2015, England has already banned the use of any wild animal in their circus acts. Circuses don’t have to equal animal cruelty. Will you help unchain these creatures?