Letter to the Editor: Voicing Concern for Upcoming Circus in Wilmette

A resident writes that Wilmette shouldn't be associated with inhumane treatment of animals in circuses.

Dear Editor:

I am a resident of Wilmette and I would like to voice my concern for the upcoming . 

(Editor's note: .) 

The Kelly Miller Circus includes tigers and elephants. I feel that our village and school district should not be associated with the shameful inhumane care and treatment of animals in circuses. 

The Village Board who approved the permit and the District 39 Foundation who hired the circus have set a horrible example for the children. 

A simple Google search will provide more than enough information on the cruelty that circus animals endure. Standard circus industry practice is to use bull hooks and other objects to poke, prod, strike, shock, and hit animals in order to "train" them all for a few moments of human entertainment.  

Elephants in the wild don't eagerly stand on their heads and tigers don't naturally jump through hoops of fire. They don't perform these and other difficult tricks because they want to; they perform them because they're afraid of what will happen if they don't.  

Animals in circuses spend about 11 months of the year traveling. Constant travel means that animals are confined to boxcars, trailers, or trucks for days at a time in extremely hot and cold weather, often without access to basic necessities such as food, water, and veterinary care.  

It is remarkable to me that a foundation that is linked to a school district that influences thousands of kids is essentially endorsing animal cruelty. 

Can't they think of a better way to raise money? This is the worst kind of message to send to our children.  

The District 39 Foundation has been hiring the circus since 2002 but it is now 2012. There are so many other positive events that could be considered.  

Having a circus at a school or anywhere in our community is a bad lesson for kids. We need to teach our children to respect animals and treat them humanely. 

Our kids should not grow up thinking this is ok. 

Thank you for your time,

Janie Jenkins


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Megan July 25, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Thank you, Janie. I whole-heartedly agree. It is wrong to use a circus as a fundraiser for the school district.
Dan July 26, 2012 at 04:41 AM
It is a circus, Janie. When the North Shore community stops eating steak, boiling lobsters and sitting on leather seats in their homes and cars, then you can raise animal rights issues. In the meantime, let the children have a bit of fun.
Willie Wilmette July 26, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Thank you, Janie. Now you can help PETA's efforts to eliminate pet stores. You for got to mention that animals are bad for the environment, a huge dog produces as much CO2 as some cars and how much CO2 is produced transporting elephants around? Dan, "let the children have a bit of fun"? If it wasn't for children, we would not have this rising CO2 level mess, would we?
Terry N. July 27, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Very well said, Janie. And please disregard Ignorant Dan's statement. I wouldn't call the circus "a bit of fun" by any stretch of the imagination. The fight for animal rights can't be won all at once, but we need to fight for compassion locally and where we can.
Andrew July 28, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Great letter, Janie. We need to teach our children compassion, not cruelty. As a young person myself and founder of a nonprofit dedicated to youth outreach, I know more than anyone that children are the future of our world and most form their beliefs by the age of 10-12. Animal circuses are not in the least bit "fun". All I see when I see an elephant or tiger is the world of misery they are living in. How about an animal free circus?
Amy Parker July 29, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Dan: This is a specious argument. One kindness does not necessarily preclude another. It is not necessary to stop eating lobster prior to demonstrating concern for other living creatures. --Amy Savin Parker
Amy Parker July 29, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Why not have one of those carnival events with rides and games and funnel cakes and cotton candy? No animals were harmed in the writing of this message.
Terry N. July 29, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Amy - exactly! I wrote Tracy Kearney, Foundation Chair, suggesting that if animals are the draw, perhaps a day targeted to residents and their pets would be an option. Events could include dog washes and kid/dog games, and local pet industry vendors could buy booth space. (No response yet from Kearney).
Macie Beans July 29, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Janie, You are a hero, and a kind voice for animals. Every issue has its' opponents. Don't let them get in your way of greatness. Tigers and Elephants are gentle creatures, not an entertainment source! Where is the teaching moment at the circus? Perhaps parents could take their children to an animal shelter and volunteer for a day. That is both fun and a great lesson. Keep up the good work.
Dolores Santucci July 29, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Studies prove that teaching children empathy and respect for animals translates into their daily lives with people. It is something they take with them their whole lives. Children have a natural affinity for animals and at some point will question the choices adults have made. I still remember being upset as a little girl about how animals were treated at the circus and did NOT see it as fun.
Ginger Baker July 30, 2012 at 05:33 AM
Excellent Janie. Dan seems to be trying to confuse the issue. The training of elephants in and for the circus is horrendously cruel and their confinement, as well as all the other circus animals, is something we should be explaining to our children is the reason we will not support the cruelty of the circus with live animals.
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