On Thursday the Dane County Board will address a problem that the Zor Shriners should have handled long ago — the abuse of elephants in their Madison circuses.
In the wild and in sanctuaries, elephants roam up to 50 miles a day, form close-knit social bonds, love their young, grieve their dead.
But circus elephants are chained in place for much of their lives, hauled in truck trailers across the country. Their chained, isolated confinement is punctuated only by the bright lights, amplified hoopla, and bullhook jabs of the circus ring.
Zor leadership claims elephants don’t mind chains, truck trailers, and bullhooks. Their spokesman suggested on Ch. 3 (WISC-TV) news last December that there’s no way to mistreat an elephant, other than to starve it to death (http://tinyurl.com/86arhrt).
Regarding the use of circus profit for charitable purposes, tickets to the Zor Shrine circus state “proceeds benefit Shrine Center. Payments are not deductible as charitable contributions.”
Other county fraternal groups do not rely on animal cruelty to fund their operations. Zor leadership could promote and bring a circus here without elephants, offering family entertainment that’s truly wholesome. Instead, it’s needlessly mistreating elephants, misusing the time of supervisors and dishonoring the Shriners’ heritage of compassionate public service.
— Charles Talbert, Monona