On Wednesday, a circus promoted as wholesome family "entertainment" will conduct its show in Maplewood. The Zerbini Family Circus features, among other animals, alligators, camels, ponies, and a bison named Tatanka. These animals are intelligent beings who perform not because they choose to, but because they are forced to under the command of human trainers wielding whips and other disciplinary weapons. These animals have an interest in their own lives and an interest in making their own decisions, and we should respect these interests by rejecting and refusing to fund their enslavement for human "entertainment."
In the wild and in spacious sanctuaries, bison do not walk across a see-saw board, as Tatanka is forced to do. Instead, bison commonly choose to roam, some for miles each day, while grazing on grasses and sedges, a choice Tatanka is denied while confined in trailers and forced to perform on the circus tour. Just as we can survive (and thrive) without consuming other animals as food and as clothing, we can survive without forcing other animals to perform for us. Circuses can survive as well. As the all-human cast of Cirque du Soleil has proven, and as some of the talented human performers of the Zerbini show have revealed, circuses do not need nonhuman animals to be entertaining.
Now more than ever people are recognizing the injustice inherent in the enslavement, objectification, and commodification of animals forced to perform against their will. At least ten countries, including Paraguay, Austria, and Singapore, have banned the use of wild animals in circuses, with Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Greece banning the use of all nonhuman animals. Several United States cities, from Revere, MA to Huntington Beach, CA, from Clearwater, FL to Port Townsend, WA, have also implemented bans.
Please consider boycotting the Zerbini Family Circus and any circus that exploits nonhuman animals for financial profit. Please consider patronizing shows and events in which all participants are willing.