portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary portland metro

actions & protests | animal rights

An Elephant's Eye

There's nothing fun about the life of a circus animal.
I gave out leaflets with In Defense of Animals (IDA) against the Ringling Bros. animal circus at the Rose Arena. In just one short hour I came away disheartened and sad.

More than a dozen people stood with animal cruelty signs as I walked around trying to give the educational leaflets. In my soft words I asked them to look into an elephant's eye and see their pain. I asked them to THINK, do you have a brain? Cannot you see that it's archaic and a holdover from the days when the empire threw people to the lions, just for the entertainment of violence? No, they walk past you with smiles on their faces and children in their hands to pass on the sick entertainment to future generations.

I just don't get this lack of passion, especially for the elephants. Would they allow this to happen to their pets? Then what's the difference? Then I read troops are engaged in Baghdad to protect the Iraq military. Grey wolves, an endangered species, will be shot from helicopters and their pups gassed. Wild horses are rounded up and taken off the free range.

Standing with peace friends in resistance is more elevating. You don't see the troops march past you to shoot a civilian, whereas you do see parents and grandparents walking in to observe the animal abuse.

I happened to remember the song with lines, "The corn is as high as an elephant's eye. Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day. Everything's coming my way." It wasn't beautiful standing outside the circus and nobody seemed to care to look into the elephant's eye. Next time I will not interact with the public, I'll stand silent with a sign. I'll look for a glimmer of caring in human eyes.

some hope 05.Sep.2010 18:15


There was quite a bit that happened over the days that I was there. I just wanted to share this short bit though. One family told me that they had already bought tickets, but would not come back next year. I was told by a friend that one family turned around and left after being engaged while standing in line to buy tickets. I also heard that one family left because their child was terrified and in tears. It was not a fruitless effort, in my opinion.

pic and info 05.Sep.2010 18:19


Ringling Brothers Circus Coming to Portland 9/2-9/5


why do you say you won't try to engage 05.Sep.2010 20:03

do it for the animals

people next time, but instead stand silent with a sign? I urge you to continue to confront and engage these people. It's disheartening, but I do believe it's a step up from silence. I think I saw you there, and I appreciated your presence. The animals need your voice.

voice 06.Sep.2010 09:55


I will not be silent. However, I know my weaknesses and persuation is not one of them.

Several times children took my flyers and their adult asked me not to give it to them, saying that is "cruel." While I understand their viewpoint, I ask what is more cruel than abuse of animals.

Refund your tickets ought to be one talking mode. Reverse the performance. Put humans out in center stage to perform tricks for the animals. It is humiliating and disgusting.

Real humanity can be learned by looking into the eyes of another. Spare elephants from circus misery.