Your Guide to the Reality of Animal Circus

"The academic panel concluded that there appears to be little evidence to demonstrate that the welfare of animals kept in travelling circuses is any better or worse than that of animals kept in other captive environments" - Executive Summary of the DEFRA Circus Working Group 2007

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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Oh My! George Takei and the Elephant in the Room.

It's always very disappointing when yet another actor decides to make statements in an area they have so little actual qualification to assess. The latest celebrity to go down this path is the actor most famous for his part in the original Star Trek television series George Takei. In a recent posting on his Facebook page regarding an elephant video that is circulating on social media he stated:

"...Elephants are incredibly empathic and intelligent creatures. They belong in the wild, or at least in sanctuaries such as this, and not in circuses or amusement parks..." 

Of course, this behaviour by this particular elephant is indeed very interesting. But what we are seeing here is an example of herd protection behaviour from this female elephant. Perhaps the most pertinent question to ask is why this animal is displaying this behaviour towards its human handler. The most likely explanation is that the animal regards this human is part of her herd. Therefore, when the human fell over, the animal instinctively decided to protect him.

Perhaps what this video also reveals is that there can be very close bonds between human handlers and elephants they work with. However, George Takei's comments regarding "circuses and amusement parks" (sic) are rather disingenuous. Further, perhaps Takei wasn't aware that this video was taken at the Maesa Elephant's Camp which may well fall into the category that he refers to ambiguously as an "amusement park".

An elephant plays football at the Maesa Elephant's Camp part of the daily elephant shows at this facility.

I suspect it is very unlikely that George Takei has ever been to a circus, let alone directly spoken to those handling elephants about the close bond they have with their animals, which the video he displays reveals.

Unfortunately, it seems that Takei is sadly another victim of the insidious propaganda machine of the animal-rights movement - who seem to be doing a very good job at the moment of demonising human handling of elephants, particularly those maintained within the circus.  He also seems oblivious of the fact that Ringling Bros Circus successfully sued various animal-rights groups in the past regarding allegations about the care of their elephants.

Ringling Bros. gets $16 million from animal activists.

Takei has even managed to be duped into substituting the word zoo for "sanctuary".  A weasel word used by the animal-rights movement to describe their own zoological facilities. Establishments that, of course, use exactly the same animal husbandry technologies derived from decades of experience in the zoos they so often decry.

Whether we at Rouster can classify George Takei as a celebrity hypocrite regarding animal-rights and animal welfare is open to debate – his past record in activism seems to rightly concern itself with other human beings. Nevertheless, here is another example of a popular and intelligent commentator on social media being oblivious to their susceptibility to populist, but equally wrong propaganda from the animal-rights movement.

Astley's Legacy was formed to counter the misinformation and propaganda spread by animal rights activists. As well as fighting the corner for circus animals and their trainers, we are here to promote and celebrate the cultural heritage of circus in general, and especially in the country of its birth - Great Britain. For more information please see our Facebook group
Or follow us on Twitter: @RousterAstley

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