August 6, 2015

Cecil the lion – what can you do?

Cecil the Lion
The appalling and cowardly shooting of Cecil the Lion became a world-wide rallying point for those of us who care about animals. I think this tragic story has made a lot of us feel helpless. We want to help animals like Cecil. We want to make a difference, but how? Just sharing our outrage on Facebook feels shallow and futile. But these incidents happen thousands of miles away, in other countries, in isolated geography. Even if we had the time and the money to fly to far-flung destinations, what could you and I do when we got there? Surely this isn’t the solution. Sadly, it’s too late for Cecil anyway.

But there are rare animals that need your help, right here in Ottawa. Their names are Marie and Shelly. They are captive Asian elephants. This week, the Zerbini Circus, will again be rolling into Ottawa under the guise of the Shrine Circus with Marie and Shelly in tow.

The two elephants have been trained to entertain you by doing tricks. How are elephants trained to do tricks? With bullhooks.

What is the connection between Shelly and Marie and Cecil? The ultimate source of their pain is the same—the attitude that animals exist solely for our use. If it’s okay to make elephants dance to avoid pain for our amusement, then it’s only a small leap to shoot them for the same reason.

Circus elephants

So, what do Shelly and Marie need from you? They need you to boycott the Shrine circuses and all of its ilk. They need you to refuse the telemarketers who ask you to buy tickets for “under-privileged children.” They need you to speak for them;  to tell others about their plight.

Circuses are about money, not about education and certainly not about animal welfare. If there is no money to be made, they will wither away, along with the message that that they bring to young people about domination and exploitation of animals. It’s a simple plan: don’t pay, don’t go, and let others know

Bruce Roney
Executive Director