Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A child’s wish; for the animals

“Mommie, mommie’, I heard a small voice call out. There I was, standing in front of a dwarfed galvanized metal cage, no bigger than about 5 feet by 7 feet, and abjectly staring at its contents; watching an orange and white striped form of a once majestic and regal tiger, pacing to and fro.
I looked down and saw a child, whose stress filled mommy pleas made me wonder what exactly this little boy was thinking. At that moment, his little mitt grabbed a corner of his mother’s flower printed sundress.
‘What Chi Chu”, the voice of Southern dialect responded, as she mindlessly reached out to hold her sons hand. She too was mesmerized by the imprisoned circus victims. As she answered him, she quickly glanced down and gave a quick smile. “What?” she repeated.
We all stood there for a minute, me, waiting to hear what this small boy might say, while positioned in front of something he might never had seen before.
‘I wish they weren’t in cages”, this little maestro of compassion softly stated to his mother.

Ok, just about then, a few tears formed in my eyes. Now to be honest to my readers, it doesn’t take much to make me tear up. A wounded child, someone being bullied, a rape victim, an abused animal. Those are just my top four favorite tear jerker situations.
“Chi Chu”, I heard the 30 something year old, baby momma, reply to her son. ‘What do you mean, aren’t the tigers beautiful? Don’t you like them?” Ah, my queue to butt in.

‘I understand too”, I muttered to the little 6 (or maybe 7) year old child, who looked quite smart in his striped shirt and pint size baseball cap. “My heart hurts for them too”, I said.
His glance made me pause for a moment. He and I held eyes, like we spoke the same language, if even for a moment.

“What do you mean?” His mother asked me.
“Well, come on, look at them. They live their whole lives enslaved. Never knowing true freedom. Never nurturing their young. Never roaming the open lands. These circuses travel from town to town on highways and back roads, never allowing the animals to experience life as a free and wild creatures”. Is all I could say, though I certainly had more, if given the chance.

“I never thought about it like that” this now baffled, but inquisitive mother replied. ‘But, yes, now I see your point.” She concluded.
“Momma, I saw them at school, my teacher shown us pictures of tigers. She said they should live in faraway countries, where they can be free. She showed us pictures and told us about how tigers are so big and like to hunt to eat”. My newest little hero spoke with such knowledge and conviction, I just wanted to reach right down and hug him. But I didn’t, instead, I choked back tears.
At that moment I silently said a prayer, thanking the nameless/faceless New Haven City School teacher for introducing compassion to her students.

How can this little someday to be a man, have such an understanding of humanity, yet throngs of parents treat their kids to being witness of cruel and inhumane practices every time a circus rolls into town?
Can’t we get beyond the enslavement of wild animals for purely no other purpose than to entertain us? Can’t we visit sanctuaries, rescue centers or environments where wild and exotic animals can live a free and unobstructed life?
Can’t we listen to the wishes of a small yet enlightened soul of a boy and grant him that wish? Let us take the animals out of the cages.
Support the circus which only includes acts of human death defying feats, clowns who toss pies, tattooed women and fire eating men. Not the ones that enslave animals, possibly employ transient workers who aren’t trained or qualified to perform the work they are doing and let’s not go to a place where our children’s safety could be in danger.

The philosophy of old time circuses should not cloud the reality of dangerous conditions (Hartford Circus Fire), animal cruelty (USDA cited violations) and nameless other falsely memorialized attributes that circuses actually provided safe and humane entertainment, because it didn’t and they still don’t.

This blog is written to a boy I heard nicknamed Chi Chu, who wants animals to live and be free; I thank you for speaking out on behalf of animals.
Even if your voice was little, it meant more than you will ever know.

CherylAnn Fernandes

I recommend parents take their kids to this showing of a wild and free elephant lecture.
Here is the link:

Monday, June 6, 2011

What, the Price of Entertainment?

I often wonder what people consider to be entertainment. I realize that some like to attend loud, head banging, thump pounding, visceral engaging heavy metal concerts, while others prefer the soothing sounds of subdued hymnal rhythms, which delicately caress the ear and soul.
I know a guy who has jumped out of a perfectly good airplane 26 times. Yes, that’s right this guy has made the death defying plunge more times than I can count on my fingers and toes combined. I’d call him an adrenaline junkie.
Or, how about my gal pal Linda, who someday plans to hike the whole Appalachian Trail? She has quite a bit of it already covered. But when asked to partake in this version of outdoor entertainment, my response was “Don’t expect me to join you for any overnight camping trips. I much prefer my bed to be bug and wildlife free”.  She just laughed.

Seriously though, it is a wonderfully rewarding human opportunity which allows us to have a choice, an option to consider and then decide to or not to do that, whichever it is we want to do. It is the rational decision we humans have, to choose what we consider fun and how we want to spend our days and nights being entertained.

But here is where I implore readers to think before they decide to attend an event which exploits and abuses for the mere sake of degrading entertainment. I truly believe there is no definable reason that inhumanity should be allowed to visit our community or have a place to grand stand its definition of enjoyment, for the sake of mere existence.

What I mean by all of this is, what price, exactly; would you pay to be entertained? Does it matter that suffering ensues? Can you sit back, eat popcorn, cotton candy all the while laughing at clowns under a big top, while waiting for once wild, now captive, exotic animals which are being subjected to living in un-natural conditions, like metal barred, wood bottomed moveable prisons perched on top of heat scorched asphalt to be dragged out of these cages and show up on queue? Can you block out National Geographic images of African Serengeti Plains roaming elephants, nurturing their young while living long healthy existences in family pods of twenty or more and wait for Rosie the two ton elephant, wearing her bejeweled head gear and belly scarf to come barreling into center ring? (Oh and by the way, a typical female in the wild should weigh about four to five tons). Does it matter that tigers probably fear fire but are physically manipulated to endure daily encounters of it under a trainers whip, all the while balancing on a brightly painted wooden stool? 

Can you sit in an audience amongst other unassuming ticket holders and witness the occasional bull hook plunging into thick, yet sensitive skin of a terrified (or worse yet, drugged) exotic and once proud elephant? Can you? Doesn’t it matter that our young and impressionable children are misguided to believe that this is how animals should be treated and that they are are even encouraged to witness such tragedies? Shouldn’t we, the consumer and humanitarian make a better choice than to encourage years of volatility against nature and animal kind to occur?

I did make that decision, and I still do. I spend my money where animals can be honored, respected, understood, conserved and live a life as natural as possible without being neglected, abused, tortured or exploited. My personal story included a childhood dream to one day visit Africa. I wanted to witness the grandeur of Mother Nature’s finest creation; the wild as it was meant to be, and in its entire splendor. So as an adult I visited Kenya, and to my surprise, it wasn’t that expensive. I wanted it to happen; so I made it be.
That, is how I believe elephants, lions and other exotic animals should spend their time on this planet. Not crammed in overheated box cars, eating unnatural diets, cowering in fear of what happens next, while lurching along train tracks from one nameless town to another, only to be pushed, prodded and exploited all in the name of entertainment for yet another apathetic crowd of circus goers.

I do believe in my heart of hearts, that human beings, when given the option to make the right choices, do. They decide to treat others and those they are in governance of fairly and humanely and won’t be participants in inhumanity. Nor will they witness it. That, I hope is you too.

I ask that when the inhumane related circus comes to town, you won’t be there, in audience, participating in obvious miscalculations of pleasure. But instead you will be out, enjoying your time off from work, with your children, amongst your friends and in some other non-exploitive manner, like an acrobatic non-animal circus.
That, I do believe is a fair price to pay for entertainment.

(As a side note, the Cole Bros Circus is scheduled to be arriving at the Westfield CT Post Mall on Sunday June 12th 2011 with two shows per day on Monday June 13th through Wednesday June 15th.
This particular circus has had multiple years of USDA violations therefore rendering them to travel under a variety of different USDA exhibitors’ licenses, employs animal workers who have a series of violations pertaining to animal cruelty statutes or have enlisted undertrained and unlicensed animal handlers and have too numerous to list occasions where animals have escaped, caused bodily harm or injury to spectators or other persons in the public who are unrelated to the show itself and who just simply should not be allowed to dupe the system.
JUST SAY NO to the circus! Call Westfield CT Post Mall GM Jim Ralston ( 203.878.6837 ) and politely ask him to cancel this ghoulish event.

If the public is concerned enough not to have such a traveling display of indecency enter the City of Milford, I hope you will let your voice and wallet speak on behalf of banning this type of abnormality in our City limits. Don’t attend the show and ask your elected officials to ban this type of inhumanity from ever occurring in Milford again). For additional information of inhumane circus related information: