Arts and Entertainment

Don’t let the ‘Greatest Show’ Die

Yatindra Bhatnagar

It would be an extremely sad day for hundreds of millions of people when Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey circus will fold their tents, lay off their staff, retire their pets (send them to obscurity or make them the target of hunters and poachers) and say a final goodbye. The world of healthy entertainment will be gone. Acts of top physical and mental agility, magic, and  amazing feats of beloved animals will disappear. Funny clowns putting smile on the faces of millions will not be seen, and the incredible family of dedicated artists will be no more there to amaze us.

Shame on those responsible for this heartbreaking climax. Circus makes people happy, inspires them to be healthy, makes them leave their couches and go out to be fascinated and entertained by astonishing acts of amazing skills.

[Of course, no one factor can be blamed for this tragedy. There are those IPad, VDO games, films and TV moguls who have succeeded in luring us to 'change our habits’ and make us electronic-addict lazy couch potatoes. I don’t dispute part of their entertainment, and sometimes, their educational value, but the other part is scary as they are making the kids – and also adults - addictive and lethargic.]

Also bitter thanks to the 'activists' for taking away a big part of fun from the circus by waging a war in the name of 'animal rights.' They forget that animals are an essential part of the circus family and cared for like children.

Yes, there is a strict regimen, a disciplined schedule of training and diet. But humans working as acrobats, clowns and others in a circus also follow that. Why, all the athletes in all the sports train incredibly very hard. They are under strict watch by their coaches, trainers, dieticians  and other officials. They are controlled by others about how they eat, live and conduct themselves. Strict control and discipline bring them rewards and recognition and that’s how they make their families, their teams and their countries proud.

[That treatment and strict control can also be termed as cruelty.]

And if that is ‘cruelty’ then ban football, hockey, athletics, horse racing and dog shows. And why exempt boxing? In other field sports sheer physical strength is developed and used. In boxing you are trained, and cheered, to assault the other person, hit him hard and knock him down. You ban cock-fights but allow boxing – regular and free style. No 'rights activists' weep for these violations and cruelty. No violation of ‘human rights’ are ever alleged. 

I can concede that there are instances where excessive hard training and inadequate feeding and care of circus animals have been reported but those would be exceptions, not the rule.

The animals are more often than not, treated as members of the family and fed and cared as such by their handlers and trainers. They are the pride of the circus establishment and are regarded as some of the top entertainers.  

Handling and training of circus animals could be more closely monitored and circus inspected periodically. But to take away animals from the circus and create circumstance where the whole circus industry is forced to close down is an act of extreme cruelty. It is also disastrous for those connected with, and dependent on, circus for their living and for those who expect, and get, top class, clean and healthy entertainment.  

Overall, circus is the place where children and the whole family can sit and enjoy healthy entertainment, fun and fitness and other skills, without being exposed to

R-rated shameless exhibition of sex and cruel criminal activities movies and TV show 24/7. The screens flaunt bodies in a tantalizing manner that result in crimes against women. They teach how to commit perfect crimes and perfect murders to encourage would- be criminals and teach new methods to hardened criminals.

For circus you don’t have to put labels of PG-13 or Adults only.

Please don’t let the ‘greatest show on earth’ die. The 146 year’s iconic American spectacle deserves our advocacy, backing, and endorsement, all our help, patronage and all-out support to continue as an essential part of our happy lives and wholesome entertainment.