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:

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