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(Please Note: Further articles can be found under Miscellaneous Links)
     In recent times several issues regarding the use of animals in the circus, and other fields of entertainment, have arisen that deserve attention. While animals have been partners of humanity's voyage through the ages since the dawn of time, some now feel that we should dissolve this close, and valuable, partnership, allowing our fellow creatures to survive unhindered; leaving them to their own devices without any contact whatsoever - either as friends and companions, work mates, or even as a source of sustenance.
     We are all entitled to our own opinions on this matter and intelligent, sober, informative discussion is more than encouraged, it is essential if we are to resolve these matters for the benefit of all; animals as well as humans. Instead, however, there are those who resort to lies, exaggeration, and, sometimes, even acts of terrorism with little, or no, real understanding, knowledge, or caring, about the very issues they pretend to champion - that is, animal rights.
     Of course, there are many people who have real concerns for the welfare of wild animals, as well as those considered "domesticated". Those people understand the need for environmental conservation, protection of endangered species, breeding programs, and other important methods, to help maintain our precious friends and to save them from extinction. They understand the need for education and study to discover ways for us to co-exist safely, one with the other, without either having to give up all dignity and freedom, indeed, life, so the other can continue unhindered. In other words, we have to compromise.
     Part of the problem, however, is obvious. Animals have no understanding of their ultimate plight, even though we are slowly proving intelligence and fundamental communication abilities. We will never be able to sit and discuss with them the problems we share, so it is up to us to think of ways that are fair and reasonable not ridiculous. Just cutting animals loose to fend for themselves would, in itself, be a death sentence. The more we know about them the better chance we have of protecting and preserving the species. Mankind is expanding in number at an alarming rate (about 8 billion as of 2000 - 20 billion by 2015). All those extra people need food and space. The rapid decline in numbers of many species is due to reduction in environment, not so much (anymore) of over hunting or, especially, in using animals as performers in circuses, to stock zoos and pet shops, or even for lab experiments. In fact, the opposite is often true.
     If you were to stop and think for a moment you would note that the species that do best around us are those we find useful, or, conversely, find us useful. We farm cows, sheep, chickens, pigs, geese, ducks, and turkeys. None of those species are endangered. We breed horses, dogs, cats, parakeets, mice, and rats. Same thing applies. Cockroaches find US a blessing. The proof of this is becoming apparent because some of those once favored creatures are beginning to have a problem too - especially the horse. Once there were hundreds of breeds of horse. Then came the automobile and 20th century technology. My bet is that as of now the greatest number of horses of a particular breed would have to be the thoroughbred racehorse. Most other breeds are either no more or drastically reduced in number. We don't need them anymore! Stop racing and the thoroughbred goes too! 
     In India, where the elephant once reigned supreme as the predominant domesticated beast of burden for thousands of years, modern farm and logging equipment has caused the once abundant, and treasured, pachyderm to become redundant and failing. Unwanted, and unloved, the remaining few tame elephants are reduced to begging for food or, occasionally, used to keep their wild brothers and sisters from straying into villages to wreak havoc in exchange for protection from their own destruction. Additionally, the improved methods of logging have enabled the jungles to be cleared even faster than before, reducing the natural environment of these beautiful animals and, thus, speeding their extinction. As India is one of the main countries where a massive population explosion is occurring it is obvious that the elephant is not going to win any competition over land. 
     The question one is forced, therefore, to ask is this: is it better to have a live, albeit working, elephant or a dead one? Zoos, of course, are one answer. However, even then you have the problem of boredom. Elephants are extremely intelligent. As an intelligent creature myself I can sympathize with the need to occupy ones self to stave off boredom. A bored elephant can really get creative when it comes to mischief. One English zoo, Whipsnade, discovered this when they rescued three unwanted domestic elephants from India, due for "execution". In spite of good intentions the zoo discovered that their new "retirees" needed mental stimulation. They placed a pile of telegraph poles in the compound and ordered the three to pick them up and deliver them to the other end. Later in the day they were told to move them elsewhere. After a short while they didn't need to be told - they did it all by themselves and, feeling useful again, quit busting up their compound.
     In a perfect world there would be no competition for life - man and his fellow creatures would get along fine. Once this was the case, more or less, though the shoe was on the other foot. Our distant ancestors were the endangered species, struggling for their daily bread. Now we are the biggest problem for all living species on the planet. We got super intelligent, saved ourselves (possibly at the expense of some of our cousins), became dominant, destructive, and over abundant. Now we have to save ourselves, and our planetary life forms, by careful husbandry or we too will perish (remember where our oxygen comes from? Trees!). Until we figure out how to do that it is our obligation to save our fellow inhabitants by any means possible.
     Some may think it is cruel to make an animal work. It is far more cruel to let it sit around in a prison with no mental stimulation. We feed and pamper them but they still need to fulfill some useful purpose to remain mentally healthy. Most pets locked up in a cage, or even an apartment, with no duties to perform tend towards insanity. Working animals rarely suffer from mental problems. Besides, if you had the facilities, and the desire, to rescue a large animal, such as an elephant, from destruction, could you afford to feed it? If working elephants are made redundant by some well meaning, but misguided, animal activists, do you think that the circuses will be able to sustain their "herds"? Chances are there will be several hundred less elephants in the world in the name of "ethics" and that would be the greatest crime of all.
     One lady stated in our guestbook at our original sister site (hanneford.8m.com) that she would never take her children to a circus with live animals; they could look at pictures in books. Can anyone truely experience the granduer and magnificence of the Grand Canyon from a photograph? Is a picture book a substitute for the real thing? Try telling that to a child who has just ridden around on the back of a real live elephant (or horse, pony, or camel).
     In this section you will find articles written by several experts and concerned professionals in the field. Just click on the links under "miscellaneous" (on the left side) to read them. We will update them from time to time so please check back here regularly if you have an interest in saving our animals and protecting their natural right to exist. Please don't be fooled by political groups who are just out to serve themselves and care not one jot for animals (if they did they would be out picketing the loggers and builders not zoos and circuses).
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