When I was a child, my parents took me to The Greatest Show on Earth in Madison Square Garden. The one and only Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. And I went every single year.
It was spectacular.
Mostly, I remember the opening parade. That’s when the elephants, carrying gorgeous women in glittering costumes, would stride around the perimeter of the huge arena that held three large performing rings.
The audience went wild, shouting, laughing.
To me, a kid living in a big city, it was the best time of my life – the moment when happiness became part of my life.
There were silly clowns everywhere, some shot out of cannons; prancing horses, high wire acts; cotton candy, hot dogs, flying banners on sticks (they all ended up on the wall in my room, a new one every year ). And let’s not forget all those junky souvenirs that made me feel everything was spun from magic. After all, they all came from the circus, and my father was a real sucker. He bought me everything. What a wonderful man!
And there in Madison Square Garden, my imagination went wild, the world was mine.
I was happy. Everyone was happy at the circus
During all those years it never entered my mind to think about the living hell all the animal performers were enduring just so I could have an afternoon of fun. Tigers, lions, bears, were whipped, beaten, cornered. I never thought about them.
And I never noticed that the elephants were poked or prodded. Huge, wonderful beings boxed in and tied down. No. I never thought of them either. Why would they be unhappy when I was having so much fun?
And the circus was all about me.
But today, things are changing. And it’s not because the circus has had a sudden epiphany. Rather it’s the fact there are wonderful people in the world who have screamed out, petitioned, boycotted, hounded, educated the rest of us that never saw the seams, the cracks in that perfect world. Those very people have now brought about a fantastic change.
Very soon there’ll be no more elephants in the circus. The Greatest Show on Earth is giving them up. And for those who have mentioned the great breeding program the circus provides, all I have to say is that the elephants have a much better one in their native lands, in their natural environment, where they can be free and, we hope, can survive.
Yes, there are real people out there who care about the earth. Care about the creatures that share our planet. And they work tirelessly to try to turn our species into something noble.
It gives me hope that all of us can make a difference. Maybe we can save what’s left of our planet’s wildlife.
Maybe we will.
The Organ Harvesters (Assent Publishing) Winner! The 2014 Stellar Sci-fi Contest For Science Fiction Dystopian Novel.
A damning evaluation of a system that had put technological advancements ahead of human rights, and protection of the environment.
Five ***** “Compelling from cover to cover.”