ACRU

Sea World and Ringling Brothers Cave to Animal Rights Radicals

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This column by ACRU Policy Board Member J. Christian Adams was published March 18, 2016 by PJ Media.

Imagine McDonald’s giving up beef because of the agitation of animal rights radicals. What seems silly today can be tomorrow’s surrender. It would be like a Ringling Brothers circus without elephants, or Sea World without Shamu.

Which now has happened.

Sea World and Ringling Brothers have listened to a tiny but loud group of animal rights radicals and will be removing elephants and orcas from their shows. May 1 is the end of elephants at the venerable circus, where they have appeared for over a century.

Kids will no longer be thrilled by Shamu at Sea World, and after May 1, children will no longer be spellbound by the grand parade of elephants in the “spec.” Thank the radical animal rights activists for ruining the mystique of the circus and Sea World. The circus without elephants is like the Fourth of July without fireworks.

Animal rights radicals have been agitating for these changes for years. They think animal performers are slaves. When an elephant gets five square meals a day and a predator-free life in exchange for wearing a hat and carrying a 120-pound woman on its back, it’s the same as toiling in the cotton fields.

Circus Day in Oneonta NY, July 1905 (Photo: Circus World Museum, Baraboo, WI)

These same animal rights agitators are also against Thanksgiving turkeys, slow-smoked pork shoulder, and spaghetti and meatballs. To them, Meat is Murder®. They are far, far outside the American mainstream and wholly detached from the historical realities of human existence.

In other words, they are progressives. That means they hold unpopular beliefs and want to force those beliefs on others through threats or government power.

Against Sea World and Ringling Brothers, they used both. They sought to leverage government power against these organizations, prompting investigations by the Department of Agriculture and a myriad of lesser local officials. They also threatened them with continuous agitation.

A favorite tactic was to pass out Orwellian comic books to children going to the circus showing frightening fictional accounts of elephant slaves suffering gruesome torture.

But Sea World and Ringling Brothers aren’t without fault. Oh-so-enlightened staff and consultants in these organizations convinced decision-makers that surrender to the loud radical minority was more important than paying customers.

In other words, the decision-makers followed the advice of cowards.

Parents in mainstream America, places like Peoria and Normalville, have kids who want to see elephants and whales. Instead of defending the values of their customers, Sea World and Ringling have taken the side of the radicals and degraded their product.

“As society’s understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it,” SeaWorld CEO and CEO Joel Manby said in a statement.

The cowards at Sea World and Ringling Brothers think these decisions will buy them peace from the radical progressives in the animal rights industry. That shows how little they understand progressives.

Today elephants. Tomorrow horses and tigers. PETA wants a circus without animal performers. They won’t stop agitating just because they’ve eliminated elephants and whales. The dancing dogs are next.

Did the cowards advising these companies tell the decision-makers that? Do the cowards even understand? The animal rights radicals will keep pressing because the fight is about bigger philosophical issues than animals and whales. It’s also about fundraising, a need that never abates in the leftist non-profit industry.

The PETA Foundation, for example, pushes a preposterous narrative entirely out of touch with mainstream values. It’s a narrative that can survive only in a nation of plenty, divorced from the tenuous existence of surplus: “Animals Are Not Ours to Eat,” the website boasts.

Actually, they are.

The recent industrial-scale development of animal husbandry has eliminated the existence of famine. As recently as the 1960s, famine wiped out millions of people in China. Famine has even affected African countries in the last decade. Animals are indeed “ours to eat,” because it is a moral imperative. Human life is more valuable than animal life, and that is the core moral axiom that the animal rights radicals seek to undermine.

PETA’s preposterous narrative also says “animals are not ours to experiment on.”

Again, they actually are.

Animal testing saves human lives. Animal testing has led to vaccines that have saved millions of humans from contracting fatal diseases. It was essential to develop vaccines or cures for anthrax, smallpox, rabies, plague, cholera, tetanus, diphtheria, measles and polio. Animal testing was essential to develop heart transplants, insulin treatment and treatment for HIV, breast cancer, cervical cancer, Parkinson’s disease, leukemia, asthma, and heart bypass surgery. Animal testing has allowed premature babies to survive at greater rates.

Animal testing is a moral imperative because human life is more valuable than animal life.

Ringling Brothers and Sea World surrendered to the gang who would have prevented this medical progress in the name of animal rights.

Surrender is also bad business, no matter what the cowards inside the industry advise. Without whales, Sea World is just some middling amusement park surrounded by far superior alternatives like Disney in Florida and Six Flags in Texas.

The elevation of animals at the expense of humans has a nasty and inconsistent undercurrent. I wonder how many on PETA’s staff are pro-life?

PETA is quick to say it doesn’t have a position on abortion. It seems they doth protest too much, and too quickly. When PETA’s director, Ingrid Newkirk, said “a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy,” it was pretty clear the value they place on the unique and divine dignity of human life.

It’s too bad great American institutions like Ringling Brothers and Sea World have caved to these radicals. Those who oppose the radicals can stop going to the circus and Sea World. You have until May 1.