by Pamelyn Ferdin
About ten million healthy cats, dogs, puppies and kittens are killed each year in animal shelters across the United States. The numbers overwhelm us and in an important sense that number diminishes the true horror of the situation, reducing the impact to a confused statistical jumble. Ten million individual lives.
Who can understand a number that big? To appreciate the magnitude of the companion animal crisis, one must look into the eyes of the individual dogs and cats, waiting to be killed in the hallways of our shelters. I have seen them myself, with ropes around their necks, their legs literally shaking, they looked up to me as if to say “I just want to be loved. Please help me, don’t want to die.” They watch as the others who go before them are slapped on a stainless steel table, a needle filled with poison thrust into their beating hearts and then (sometimes while they are still breathing), dumped onto a cement floor like a cheap commodity, as if they were a pound of lead or a can of baked beans. Read more
by Pamelyn Ferdin
“The Circus is Coming to Town” is a saying that used to bring excitement to small town city dwellers, but now with the knowledge of what really goes on “behind the Big Top”, people are thinking twice. Instead of paying money to see the exploitation of animals in circuses, people are choosing “animal free” circuses like Cirque du Soleil and many others who are saying “NO” to the use of exotic animals in traveling circuses. You see, there’s another side to the story of animals in the circus I’d like to address – the animal welfare problem. Everyday life for animals on the road is a very disturbing part of the circus picture.
Consider the elephants. Circuses typically confine these animals with a pair of heavy leg chains front and rear, diagonally opposite. An elephant thus chained cannot even turn in a circle. It’s not unusual for these animals to live in double leg chains all night and day except during performances and when they are on public “display”. Some “lucky” elephants get to spend some time in a small electrified corral, but even those elephants may spend 10 hours or more a day in double leg chains. Aggressive male elephants may have their head and trunk movements restrained with additional chains. Most of us would be outraged to see a dog tethered in that manner. Yet a wild elephant (or even one who is born into captivity), has an immense instinctive need to roam, take mud baths and interact with their own social community. Read more