Dear Editor: Every February the Zor Shriners bring the circus to Madison. The show contains excellent human performance acts. The continued use of animals in circuses is not only unnecessary — it is cruel. The life of circus animals is horrific.

The animals' stories begin with the way non-native species [elephants/tigers] were first brought to our country. Their mothers were killed before their eyes — so the babies could be captured and transported. Removed from their social groups and natural habitat, they were contained, chained, and "trained." Training methods incorporate fear and pain. (Watch for the use of the "bull hook" when you see a circus elephant perform.)

When not performing, elephants are chained in small spaces. Alone in a lifeless, dull environment, they languish.

Like so many events — from weddings to stage plays to movies — when you see a fini hed product, you might not realize what went on behind the scenes to produce it. I encourage your readers to look behind the scenes — and think about the animals. I hope the Shriners will move forward — and show compassion — by changing with the times. Please focus on the human acts, and stop the animal cruelty. 

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Lesley Arena Crocker


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